Dr. Jane Goodall Wins URI-Africa Peace Award

The Africa Peace Award is given annually by United Religions Initiative-Africa to recognize committed and effective leadership bringing sustainable peace, security, environmental protection, sustainable development, democracy, good governance, interfaith harmony, and constructive dialogue to the African continent.

Nairobi, Kenya, July 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dr. Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, was honored with this year’s URI-Africa Peace Award. She joins an esteemed group of award recipients which includes the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), the Founding President of Seychelles, the United Nations Environment Program, UNESCO, World Public Forum, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS and the African Union, among others.

The award ceremony, which took place on July 8, 2018 at the Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, included diplomats, dignitaries, religious leaders, and representatives from international peacebuilding organizations.

H.E. Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, Senior Advisor to the President of Kenya on Cohesion, Peace and Conflict Resolution, announced, “The tremendous contributions of individuals like Dr. Goodall are what will lead the world to peace.”

Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Regional Director of URI for Africa and Representative of URI at the African Union and UN Office for Africa and Global Envoy of URI, announced that the award was presented to Dr. Goodall in appreciation and acknowledgment of her extensive work on conservation and animal welfare issues, as well as her work promoting a culture of peace as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

He noted Dr. Goodall’s tireless service as the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees and her nearly 60-year study of social and family interactions of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, her great contribution of literature to humanity, and her establishment of the Jane Goodall Institute, which supports environmental research, education and conservation programs in more than 20 countries. Ambassador Hailu also commended Dr. Goodall on empowering young leaders in conservation through the Jane Goodall Institute’s “Roots & Shoots” program, which now is active in nearly 100 countries.

“It is a special day for Africa and the world at large as we recognize Dr. Jane Goodall’s unparalleled lifetime dedication to environmental sustainability,” said Dr. Juliette Biao-Koudenoukpo, Director and Regional Representative for Africa of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in her keynote address. She said Dr. Goodall’s work will remain relevant for generations because Goodall was always convinced that we need to engage youth in conservation efforts. “You are a role model for many women and young girls in science and conservation,” she told Dr. Goodall. Dr. Biao-Koudenoukpo also praised partnerships between faith-based communities and environmental conservation work, as ways to engage more active participation in environmental causes. She expressed her appreciation for the URI-Africa Peace Award program, as it amplifies good work and best practices.

“It’s a great honor. I am truly grateful to URI,” Dr. Goodall remarked in accepting the award.

Dr. Goodall was adamant about the need to involve young people in raising the voice of the environment. “What’s the point of any of us fighting for peace if we’re not raising the next generation to be better stewards of the environment than we’ve been,” she warned.

“Mother Nature is so forgiving. Mother Nature is so resilient. Because we helped lift people out of poverty around the Gombe area, there are no more bare hills. The trees have come back. Animals on the brink of extinction can be given another chance.”

“Not until we’ve alleviated poverty will we have peace,” Dr. Goodall concluded. “Not until we’ve alleviated poverty can we have harmony with the environment. Not until we’ve done something about the unsustainable, greedy, materialistic lifestyles of so many people can we live in peace.”

The Africa Peace Award has been given annually since 2007, established by URI-Africa to recognize committed and effective leadership that brings sustainable peace, security, environmental protection, sustainable development, democracy, good governance, interfaith harmony, and constructive dialogue to the African continent.


The United Religions Initiative is the largest grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network in the world. It cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities. We implement our mission in 106 countries through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of nearly 1,000 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights.

URI holds the prestigious distinction of being a non-governmental organization (NGO) with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and has long-standing partnerships with several other UN agencies including affiliation with the UN Department of Public Information.

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Gaea Denker, URI Communications Manager
United Religions Initiative