The Gates Recognized for Pioneering Philanthropy Dedicated to Solving Problems that Impede Human Development

The Fulbright Association announced today that it will award the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding to Bill and Melinda Gates at a ceremony on Oct. 15 at the U.S. Library of Congress. The Fulbright Prize recognizes the Gates' philanthropic work to improve the health, education, and well being of people around the globe as well as their leadership in inspiring others to practice philanthropy.

"Bill and Melinda French Gates have dedicated their work to the principle that every human life has equal worth," said Fulbright alumnus Craig R. Barrett, retired chairman of the board of Intel Corporation and chairman of the international selection committee that chose the Gates for the Fulbright Prize. "Through their foundation, they have used philanthropy to harness the power of science and technology to solve complicated global problems and persistent inequities in areas such as health and education."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health with vaccines and other life-saving tools and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to dramatically improve education so that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The foundation is based in Seattle, Washington, and has offices in Washington, D.C.; Delhi, India; Beijing, China; and London, United Kingdom. The foundation supports grantees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Internationally, it supports work in more than 100 countries.

"The Fulbright Association salutes Bill and Melinda Gates for their commitment to improving the lives of the world's poorest people through their support for scientific innovation and leadership," said Suzanne E. Siskel, president of the Fulbright Association. "It is a great honor to confer the 2010 Fulbright Prize on Bill and Melinda Gates in recognition of their dedication to overcoming some of the world's most serious problems. The Fulbright Prize also acknowledges the inspirational role played by the Gates in encouraging others to give generously to improve the human condition, as manifested recently through the Giving Pledge, their challenge to those of great wealth to dedicate at least half of their fortunes to charity."

The Fulbright Association created the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding in 1993 to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to fostering international awareness and understanding. Four recipients of the Fulbright Prize-Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, and Martti Ahtisaari-have later been named Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The 2008 Fulbright Prize laureate, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

The Fulbright Prize carries a $50,000 award. From 1993 to 2008, the Fulbright Prize was funded through grants provided by The Coca-Cola Foundation. The Prize is now supported by the J. William Fulbright Prize Endowment, created by a bequest from the late John B. Hurford, a former officer and director of the Fulbright Association, as well as sponsorships and contributions from Fulbright alumni and friends.

The international Fulbright Prize Selection Committee chaired by Dr. Barrett and convened by the Fulbright Association was composed of Ms. Siskel; Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic , ambassador of Croatia to the United States of America; Amr Shaarawi, associate dean for graduate studies and research, School of Sciences and Engineering, the American University in Cairo; and Brice Sinsin, professor and deputy vice chancellor for research, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic. All selection committee members are alumni of the Fulbright Program.

The Fulbright international educational exchange program was created in 1946 by legislation sponsored by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The U.S. Department of State administers Fulbright exchanges between the United States and more than 155 other countries. More than 300,000 people have participated in the program. The Fulbright Association is a private, non-profit organization that supports and promotes the Fulbright Program.