The 2018 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding was awarded to Dr. Angela Merkel. The Fulbright Association honors Chancellor Merkel for her remarkable, compassionate leadership and her strong commitment to mutual understanding, international cooperation, and peace. Chancellor Merkel embodies the best of leadership in times of unrelenting global crises and challenges.
Serving as the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1985-87 and again from 2003-07, Senator Lugar occupied the position that Senator Fulbright himself once held. In response to the attacks on September 11, 2001, he co-sponsored the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Study Program, which awards scholarships to students from countries with significant Muslim populations to study in the United States. He was a strong supporter of nuclear nonproliferation, and co-sponsored the Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
Dr. Hans Blix of Sweden, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General from 1981 to 1997, guided the Agency through the Chernobyl disaster, revelations of a clandestine nuclear weapons program in Iraq and the DPRK’s safeguards violations. Under his direction, the framework for strengthened safeguards was established, and the international legal regime for nuclear energy was bolstered.
Médecins Sans Frontières
MSF provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters, and to victims of armed conflict. They do so irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political convictions. MSF observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance. MSF claims full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions. Members undertake to respect their professional code of ethics and to maintain complete independence from all political, economic, or religious powers. As volunteers, members understand the risks and dangers of the assignments they carry out and make no claim for themselves or their assigns for any form of compensation other than that which the association might be able to afford them.
Bill and Melinda Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates work together to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people by collaborating with grantees and partners. They also participate in national and international events and travel extensively to focus attention on the issues the foundation champions.
Archbishop Tutu holds honorary degrees from more than 130 universities. He has also held distinguished academic and leadership posts in a variety of countries. He has received the Order for Meritorious Service Award (Gold ) presented by President Mandela; the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Anglican Communion; the Prix d’ Athene (Onassis Foundation); the Family of Man Gold Medal Award; the Mexican Order of the Aztec Medal (Insignia Grade); the Martin Luther King, Jr. NonViolent Peace Prize; the Sydney Peace Prize; and the Gandhi Peace Prize
William Jefferson Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, and again in 1996-the first Democratic president to be awarded a second term in six decades. Under his leadership, the United States enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in its history. President Clinton’s core values of building community, creating opportunity and demanding responsibility resulted in unprecedented progress for America, including moving the nation from record deficits to record surpluses; the creation of over 22 million jobs-more than any other administration; low levels of unemployment, poverty and crime; and the highest homeownership and college enrollment rates in history.
Colin Powell placed an emphasis on reaffirming diplomatic alliances throughout the world, supporting a national missile defense system, working towards peace in the Middle East, and prioritizing sanctions instead of force in potential hot spots such as Iraq. He also focused on reinvigorating U.S. diplomacy through reforms in the Department of State’s organizational culture and an infusion of resources for personnel, information technology, security, and facilities.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso served two terms as president of the Federative Republic of Brazil from January 1, 1995, to January 1, 2003, winning both elections with an absolute majority. As president of Brazil, Dr. Cardoso strengthened political institutions, increased economic stability and growth, and expanded educational opportunities for all Brazilians while promoting human rights and development. During his tenure, high school enrollments increased by more than one third, and the number of students entering college doubled. Dr. Cardoso’s emphasis on improving health care in poor rural areas resulted in a 25 percent decrease in infant mortality. The United Nations Development Program has recognized his work with the inaugural Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human
Sadako Ogata was named co-chair of the Commission on Human Security in June 2001 and special representative of the Japanese prime minister for Afghanistan assistance in November 2001. She has also served as a scholar-in-residence at the Ford Foundation in New York City. These appointments followed Mrs. Ogata’s distinguished career as United Nations high commissioner for refugees, a post to which she was first elected in December 1990 for a three-year term beginning January 1, 1991. She was reelected on November 4, 1993, for a further period of five years (January 1994 to December 1998). On September 29, 1998, Mrs. Ogata was elected UN high commissioner for refugees a third time for the period January 1999 to December 2000.
Kofi A. Annan was the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and was the founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. In 2001, he and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Kofi Annan was praised for being “pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organization.” (Norwegian Nobel Committee, October 2001). He died in 2018 after a short illness.
A diplomat for more than 30 years and president of Finland from 1994 to 2000, Martti Ahtisaari has served as peacemaker in some of the world’s most troubled areas. His commitments to strengthening civil society, extending democratic practices, and furthering peaceful cooperation and coexistence have repeatedly led foreign governments to seek his aid in resolving difficult and violent conflicts
Since her appointment as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in June 1997, Mary Robinson has taken on the difficult challenges of her office without hesitation and has consistently stressed the need for action in the struggle to extend the full range of human rights to all citizens. As High Commissioner, Mrs. Robinson is responsible for overseeing the human rights activities of the United Nations, including promoting universal enjoyment of human rights, responding to human rights violations, undertaking preventive human rights action, and providing education and assistance in the field of human rights
In the December 1989 Chilean presidential election, Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin Azócar, leader of the CPD, won by a large margin over his closest opponent, Hernán Büchi Buc, a former finance minister and the government-endorsed candidate. The coalition also gained a majority in the lower chamber and nearly half the seats in the upper chamber. Aylwin, who took office in March 1990, supported Chile’s free-market system but also emphasized social and political change.
In November 1989, Vaclav Havel became a leader of the Civic Forum opposition movement, which helped bring about the end of Communist rule. On December 29, 1989, he was elected President of Czechoslovakia. The new, freely elected Parliament re-elected him on July 5, 1990, for a two-year term. As President of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, he established new relationships with many world leaders and helped shape Czechoslovakia’s new foreign policy. Vaclav Havel resigned from the federal presidency on July 20, 1992, after parliamentary elections foreshadowed the dissolution of the federation. On January 26, 1993, Vaclav Havel was elected the first President of the Czech Republic.
Cory Aquino served as co-president of the Forum of Democratic Leaders with Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, Sonja Gandhi of India, and Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea. Her leadership and her example have been recognized by the Martin Luther King Jr. Non-violent Peace Prize, the United Nations Development Fund for Women’s Noel Award for Political Leadership, and the 1993 Special Peace Award from the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Awards and Concerned Women of the Philippines, among other distinctions. She was also chairperson of the Board of Advisors of the Metrobank Foundation and served as honorary chairperson of the Philippine National Centennial Commission, of the Foundation for Clean Elections, of the Sulung Pampanga Foundation, and of the Piso’t Puso ng Tarlac Foundation.
Mr. Vranitzky has been instrumental in helping the countries of central and eastern Europe pursue a democratic future for their peoples. Under his leadership, Austria has provided the highest per capita level of economic assistance to that region and has strongly supported international investment there. Mr. Vranitzky also led Austria’s humanitarian assistance to the victims of war in the former Yugoslavia and to Soviet Jews seeking safe transit from the Soviet Union during the 1980s. In 1989, Austria’s decision to open the border between Austria and Hungary allowed thousands of East Germans seeking freedom to come to the West.
As university distinguished professor at Emory University in Atlanta, President Carter founded the Carter Center in 1982 in cooperation with the university. The Carter Center brings people and resources together to promote peace and human rights, to resolve conflict, to foster democracy and development, and to fight hunger and disease throughout the world. The Carter Center has helped monitor elections in nearly a dozen countries. Its work has contributed to an increase in worldwide child immunization rates from 20 to 80 percent. The center has led the fight to eradicate Guinea worm disease in the developing world by the end of 1995. It has also assisted African farmers to more than triple grain production.
In 1963, Mr. Mandela was brought to stand trial with other African National Congress leaders on charges of sabotage and attempted overthrow of the government. They were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Although Mr. Mandela faced brutal conditions in prison and his family was subjected to severe harassment, he managed to smuggle notes from prison encouraging the struggle against injustice. On February 11, 1990, Mr. Mandela was freed unconditionally. In July 1991, at the first national conference since the party was banned in 1960, Mr. Mandela was elected ANC president.