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Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Former President Al Gore and Dr. Wangari Muta Maatha to Receive Chairman's Award
The 40th NAACP Image Awards will broadcast live from Los Angeles' historic Shrine Auditorium Thursday, Feb. 12 (8:00-10:00 pm ET/PT) on FOX. The star-studded broadcast, which coincides with the NAACP's 100th anniversary, is executive-produced by Vicangelo Bulluck and will kick off the organization's year-long centennial celebration.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Former Vice President Al Gore and Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai will be awarded the NAACP Chairman's Award during the special. The Chairman's Award, chosen by NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.
"I am very proud to recognize Former Vice President Gore and Dr. Maathai for their substantial efforts in environmental awareness, sustainable development and peace," said Bond. "Their courageous and historic accomplishments have benefited not only current but future generations, and they clearly reflect the values that we have so valiantly fought for over the past century."
"The NAACP has served as a beacon, advancing civil rights for the benefit of all Americans," commented Former Vice President Gore. "I am so honored to be a part of this historic centennial celebration. The Image Awards are made all the more special because I am joined by my friend and colleague, Dr. Wangari Maathai."
"I am deeply honored and privileged to share this award with Former Vice President Al Gore, my friend and colleague in environmental work," stated Dr. Maathai. "I am especially honored to be receiving this award from the NAACP, an organization that has been working tirelessly for the dignity and humanity of ethnic minorities, focusing especially on social and economic equality. The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America is a testament to your mission. As I receive this award, I congratulate and thank you for your vision and commitment to the cause of human dignity."
"The NAACP marks a historic milestone on February 12, 2009," added Image Awards chair Clayola Brown. "For 100 years to the day, the NAACP has fought to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of all citizens. The 40th NAACP Image Awards and subsequent events will provide important looks back and ahead at the organization, and will recognize the extraordinary talents and accomplishments of the many supporters who have worked to advance our cause."
Nominations for the annual award show that recognizes the artistic achievements of people of color and honors projects and individuals that promote diversity in the arts will be announced Wednesday, Jan. 7 in Los Angeles. Hosts, performers and presenters of the 40th NAACP Image Awards will be announced shortly.
Former Vice President Al Gore is chairman of Current TV, an Emmy Award-winning, independently owned cable-and-satellite nonfiction television network for young people based on viewer-created content and citizen journalism. He also serves as chairman of Generation Investment Management, a firm focused on a new approach to sustainable investing. He is the author of bestselling titles "Earth in the Balance" and "An Inconvenient Truth," and is the subject of an Academy Award-winning documentary. Gore is the co-winner, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change." He and his wife, Tipper, live in Nashville, TN. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Professor Wangari Muta Maathai is internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. She has addressed the United Nations on several occasions, and has spoken on behalf of women at special sessions of the General Assembly during the five-year review of the Earth Summit. Dr. Maathai served on the commission for Global Governance and the Commission on the Future. She and the Green Belt Movement have received numerous awards, most notably the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Maathai serves on the boards of organizations including Green Belt Movement International, World Learning for International Development, Green Cross International, Worldwide Network of Women in Environmental Work, Democracy Coalition Project, Global Crop Diversity Trust and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. She also serves as patron to three global campaigns: Congo Basin Forest Fund, Billion Tree Campaign and Mottainai Campaign in Japan.
From 2005-2008, Maathai served as the Presiding Officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the African Union based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ECOSOCC was formed to advise the African Union on issues related to African civil society. Dr. Maathai was honored with an appointment as Goodwill Ambassador to the Congo Basin Forest Ecosystem, and was later named co-chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, where she serves in an advocacy role for the region's conservation and protection.
Additional festivities planned for the NAACP's centennial year include televised specials highlighting the most influential films, music and people from 1909-2009, a commemorative music CD and a photo book. Details about these and other projects will be announced by the NAACP in the coming months.
Returning event sponsors for the 40th NAACP Image Awards include American Airlines, FedEx and the Ford Motor Company.