Jeff Skoll, who led online auction and shopping behemoth eBay then went on to invest millions of dollars to markedly improve the lives of countless people around the world, was honored tonight with the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award for his leadership and broad vision to build a more just, equitable planet.
Skoll received the tribute during Silicon Valley's preeminent awards program, The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, in association with the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. Fifteen international laureates were also recognized during the black-tie gala at the Santa Clara Convention Center for their work to combat complex issues in the environment, education, equality, health, and economic development.
James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award recipient Jeff Skoll
"The Global Humanitarian Award is personally very meaningful to me for two primary reasons. Even when I was a young engineer, I really believed that technology could help improve people's lives. It's the great enabler. It gives voice to the voiceless, it empowers people, and it connects them," Skoll said before a capacity crowd of more than 1,400 people, including Silicon Valley industry giants, philanthropists and political leaders. "The second reason is the company that it keeps. When I look at the list of past recipients, these are all people who I've worked with directly, and I deeply respect the work they're doing. So, it's very humbling to be considered alongside these great humanitarians."
Skoll was the first full-time employee and first president of eBay, the world's largest on-line marketplace, headquartered in Silicon Valley. He went on to create the Skoll Foundation in 1999, which quickly became the leading foundation for social entrepreneurship. Its flagship program, the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship currently supports 81 leading social entrepreneurs whose work serves the neediest people in more than 100 countries.
In 2009, he founded the Skoll Global Threats Fund, whose initial focus includes five global issues - climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and the Middle East conflict. Skoll also founded Participant Media in 2004. Participant's films partner with advocacy campaigns to engage social action on issues addressed in their award-winning films. He has served as an executive producer on more than 25 films including The Kite Runner, An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman, which have collectively received four Academy Awards and 18 nominations.
Skoll joins an impressive roster of Global Humanitarians who include education and cross-cultural dialogue advocate Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Applied's Chairman Emeritus James C. Morgan, who inspired the award.
"As an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Jeff Skoll demonstrates that technology can help individuals reach their full potential and turn dreams into solutions for a better world," said Mike Splinter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Applied Materials. "His passion and commitment to address humanity's greatest challenges exemplify the spirit of The Tech Awards."
Fifteen innovators from around the world were also recognized for applying technology in practical ways to resolve some of the world's most challenging issues. In addition to providing the laureates with a week filled with unique Silicon Valley business experiences and training, five were awarded $50,000 cash prizes.
Since the inception of The Tech Awards program in 2001, 245 laureates around the world have been recognized for their work to change millions of lives for the better.
"It is our great hope that everyone we touch will be inspired by the power of science and technology to solve problems, and it is our particular hope that some of those we impact will, in fact, develop and bring to scale innovations that improve lives" Tim Ritchie, in his first address as the new president of The Tech Museum, said. "The laureates are confronting enormous challenges and bringing about meaningful change through the creative use of technology. Let their courage serve as an inspiration."
The evening also featured the work of a100 world-class photojournalists, high-quality films of the laureates' work and performances by Stanford Talisman, a coed group of singers from Stanford University, and the Pacific Boychoir Academy.
This year's laureates represent regions as diverse as India, South Africa, Philippines, Honduras and the United States. Their work impacts people in many more countries worldwide. The projects include innovations to procure safe drinking water, the development of socially conscious digital games to engage young people in social issues and civic participation, and an innovative solution to the inaccessibility of financial services in India.
The Tech Awards laureates 2011 cash prize recipients are:
INTEL ENVIRONMENT AWARD
AguaClara, Cornell University, and Agua Para el Pueblo
MICROSOFT EDUCATION AWARD
PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder
KATHERINE M. SWANSON EQUALITY AWARD
NOKIA HEALTH AWARD
WE CARE Solar (Women's Emergency Communication and Reliable Electricity)
FLEXTRONICS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AWARD
Eko India Financial Services
The Tech Awards is a signature program of The Tech Museum, and a major fundraiser that supports the museum's education mission.
Major sponsors supporting The Tech Awards include Applied Materials, Inc., Intel, Microsoft, The Swanson Foundation, Nokia, Flextronics, Polycom, Benchmark Capital, Skoll Foundation, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Accenture, eBay, Qatalyst Partners, Google, Wells Fargo, and Hewlett-Packard.
Key partners include Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology, and Society who manages nominations, applications and independent judging process, United Nations Development Program, The Millennium Project, World Bank Institute, Catholic Relief Services, National Center For Technology Innovation, Core Group, Opportunity International, Acumen Fund, NetHope, Ashoka, Schwab Foundation for Social Responsibility, Skoll Foundation, GlobalGiving, Lex Mundi, Social Enterprise Alliance, Millennium Challenge Corporation, USAID, Global Development Commons
In-kind Sponsors include American Airlines, Brassfield Estate Winery, Bain & Company, Ogilvy Public Relations, Hilton San Jose & Convention Plaza Hotel, NBC Bay Area, The Mercury News, Forbes, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Time, MEMC, Hayward Quartz Technology, Inc., Karen Mullarkey, Bill Medsker, Thomas Fogarty Winery, Guglielmo Winery, Sarah's Vineyard, and Fenestra Winery.
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About The Tech Museum:
The Tech Museum is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum-located in the Capital of Silicon Valley -is a non-profit learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their lives. Through programs such as The Tech Challenge presented by Cisco, our annual team design competition for youth, and internationally renowned programs such as The Tech Awards presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum celebrates the present and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future.
About Applied Materials, Inc
Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMAT) is the global leader in providing innovative equipment, services and software to enable the manufacture of advanced semiconductor, flat panel display and solar photovoltaic products. Our technologies help make innovations like smartphones, flat screen TVs and solar panels more affordable and accessible to consumers and businesses around the world. At Applied Materials, we turn today's innovations into the industries of tomorrow. Learn more at www.appliedmaterials.com
About the Center for Science, Technology, and Society
The mission of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) is to promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide, primarily by working with socially-minded entrepreneurs. The CSTS implements its mission through its signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator, its partnership with The Tech Museum in The Tech Awards program, the Frugal Innovation Lab and its numerous educational and public engagement activities. CSTS is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University that embody the University's mission to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. More information can be found at http://www.scu.edu/socialbenefit