President Mikhail S. Gorbachev to receive 2001 Delta Prize for Global Understanding

— February 21, 2001

ATLANTA — Mikhail S. Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, has been chosen as the 2001 recipient of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding.

Established with an $890,000 grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation, the Delta Prize is administered by the University of Georgia.

"As a global airline, Delta knows the importance of intercultural understanding and is proud to recognize President Gorbachev for his efforts to foster peace and promote environmental protection around the world," said Frederick W. Reid, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Delta Air Lines.

Gorbachev, winner of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize, will be honored for his efforts to end the arms race and Cold War, and his humanitarian and environmental work in their aftermath.

"The Delta Prize was established to honor individuals or groups that successfully promote peaceful solutions to intercultural conflicts," said Gary Bertsch, director of the University of Georgia Center for International Trade and Security and co-director of the Delta Prize program. "President Gorbachev is a living symbol of peaceful change and understanding."

Gorbachev is scheduled to accept the award at an April 16 ceremony in Atlanta. Reid and University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams will present the prize.

During his period of leadership in the former Soviet Union, Gorbachev initiated the policy of openness (glasnost) that allowed for a freer flow of information and greater truth in Soviet affairs. His policy of economic restructuring (perestroika) and new thinking led to the reform of Soviet socialism.

Since his time in office, Gorbachev has authored several books, established the Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow, and founded Green Cross International, a nonprofit organization led in the U.S. by the American affiliate, Global Green USA. The organization’s mission is to help create a sustainable future by cultivating harmonious relationships between humans and the environment. The organization is active in several key areas including preventing conflict over shared water basins, stemming climate change and air pollution, and reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Gorbachev is the third recipient of the prize, which carries with it a $10,000 cash award. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa received the Delta Prize last year. In 1999, the inaugural prize went to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn and the Atlanta-based Carter Center.

A symposium will be held prior to the 2001 Delta Prize ceremony featuring Pat Mitchell, president of Public Broadcasting Service and immediate past president of Global Green USA; Alexander Likhotal, vice president of Green Cross International; Irina Virganskaya, daughter of President Gorbachev and vice president of the Gorbachev Foundation, and Igor Khripunov, former aide to Gorbachev and now associate director of the university’s Center for International Trade and Security.

Betty Jean Craige, director of the University of Georgia Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and co-director of the Delta Prize program, said the symposium will focus on President Gorbachev’s efforts in the post-Cold-War period to help create a safer, healthier and more just global society.
Nominees for the Delta Prize for Global Understanding are solicited from around the world. Selected University of Georgia students research the nominees for the international selection board that meets annually to choose the recipient.

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