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Clinton gets award to wish for

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Former President Bill Clinton, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson and Time magazine photojournalist James Nachtwey were named as recipients of an award that grants them one wish to change the world.

The TED Prize provides $100,000 and access to some of the top thinkers in technology, entertainment and the arts to aid projects with global ambitions.

Clinton, Wilson and Nachtwey have several months to formulate their wishes, which come with no restrictions, before revealing them in March at the annual Technology, Entertainment, and Design Conference in Monterey.

The organization, led by former publishing entrepreneur Chris Anderson, has a panel of judges who select the winners based on nominations from members of the nonpartisan group.

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Judges awarded Clinton the prize “not for his political views, but on account of his astonishing achievements since leaving office,” a spokesman for Anderson said.

Wilson is an evolutionary biologist at Harvard who has written extensively on humans’ impact on the natural world and the importance of biodiversity. Nachtwey travels to the world’s worst danger spots, photographing suffering during war and famine.

Previous winners of the award include U2 lead singer Bono and Dr. Larry Brilliant, an infectious disease specialist and head of Google’s new philanthropy organization.

When Bono won in 2005, the inaugural year of the award, recipients were granted three wishes. He requested TED attendees to help publicize his One campaign and build a community of 1 million activists to help stamp out hunger and poverty in Africa and pressure leaders of the G8 summit to provide aid to the continent.

The result was a website and advertising campaign that galvanized 1.4 million people and led the G8 summit to commit to increasing its aid package to Africa by $50 billion.

The award was announced Monday at a reception in San Francisco, and was conceived two years ago by TED conference curator Chris Anderson to recognize “remarkable” people who have the ability to change lives.

It provides each recipient with $100,000 and the chance to ask for help from the TED community – leaders in the worlds of business, science, politics and the arts who gather each year in Monterey, California in achieving one grand wish to change the world.

This year’s award recognizes Clinton’s work to launch global initiatives to address poverty and the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in Africa and elsewhere through his William J. Clinton Foundation.

The award also recognizes his broader role in galvanizing and “persuading so many influential people around the world of their capability and responsibility to effect positive change.”


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