The Goi Peace Award selection committee has bestowed the 2008 Goi Peace Award on Bill Gates, founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in recognition of his visionary leadership in helping to create a more equitable world.
The annual Goi Peace Award honors individuals and organizations in various fields that have made outstanding contributions toward the realization of a peaceful and harmonious world for all life on earth. Gates received the award at a ceremony during the Goi Peace Foundation Forum 2008 held at Bunkyo Civic Hall in Tokyo on November 9, 2008.
"Through the philanthropic work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates is not only saving millions of lives around the world, but is helping to restore hope and human dignity to the least privileged of our global family," said Hiroo Saionji, president of the Goi Peace Foundation. "His commitment to bringing innovative and lasting solutions to the world's most complex problems exemplifies true leadership, and his act of altruism mirrors the ethical values and social responsibility which should guide humanity in the 21st century."
Gates was born in 1955 in Seattle, Wash., USA. He founded Microsoft Corporation in 1975 and led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal computer software, services, and solutions. In late June 2008, Gates transitioned out of his day-to-day role at Microsoft to dedicate more of his time to his philanthropic work.
Gates began his major philanthropic efforts in 1994, when he created the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on global health. Three years later, he and wife Melinda created the Gates Library Foundation, which worked to bring public access computers with Internet connections to libraries in the United States. In 2000, the two groups merged into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Under the Gateses' leadership, the foundation's grantmaking is now organized into three programs - Global Development, Global Health, and United States. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people - especially those with the fewest resources - have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. The foundation has given $16.5 billion in grants since its inception, has an endowment of $37.3 billion (as of March 31, 2008), and supports work in more than 100 countries.
Commemorative Address by Bill Gates
About the Goi Peace Foundation
The Goi Peace Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in Tokyo, Japan in 1999. It is dedicated to promoting world peace, transcending all boundaries of race, religion, or politics. By raising public awareness of peace through various educational programs and by building cooperation among individuals and organizations in all fields, including education, science and the arts, it aims to promote values, wisdom and actions for creating a culture of peace and a new civilization. The Foundation is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It also maintains official relations with UNESCO.