HelpAge International receives USD 1.5 million Hilton Humanitarian Prize

April 16 2012

International jury selects only global NGO with singular focus on improving the lives of the world's fastest growing population-older people.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation tonight presented the 2012 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million to HelpAge International, the only global organization with a singular focus on providing assistance to and advocating for disadvantaged older people. The Hilton Foundation gives the annual award, the world's largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that is doing extraordinary work to alleviate human suffering.

The 2012 Hilton Prize was formally presented at a special ceremony at the Global Philanthropy Forum's 11th annual conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. Robert Zoellick, outgoing president of The World Bank, delivered the keynote for the prize dinner.

"Over time, the World Bank's aim should be to help countries move Beyond Aid," said Zoellick. "There will always be a need for humanitarian aid, and for some time to come, poor and conflict-riven countries will require development assistance. The goal, however, should be to move beyond dependency. Our aim should be to shift from a paradigm of charity to one of mutual economic benefit."
Steven M. Hilton, CEO and president of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, presented the award to HelpAge International CEO Richard Blewitt.

"Over the past three decades, HelpAge International has demonstrated that older people are their own best advocates and with support can claim their rights to health care, social services and economic and physical security," said Hilton. "HelpAge's work is even more urgent today as the world faces a monumental demographic shift, particularly in developing countries where the proportion of older people is growing fastest. By 2050 nearly one in five people in developing countries will be over age 60."

"It is a great honor to receive the Hilton Prize and join such a prestigious group of Hilton Prize Laureates who, like HelpAge, are giving voice to people facing disadvantages and challenges and helping them bring about change for themselves," said Blewitt. "The Prize is especially meaningful to draw the world's attention to the historic transformation being brought about by global aging and the plight of millions of older people who face overwhelming financial, social and health hurdles every day."

Special video messages were delivered by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet. A long-time supporter of HelpAge's Age Demands Action global grassroots campaign meant to help older people in developing countries challenge age discrimination, Tutu said, "Age Demands Action has proved beyond any doubt that when older people come together and speak out, policymakers act. Thanks to Age Demands Action, life is getting better for so many."
Blair, whose Tony Blair Faith Foundation partnered with HelpAge International on the UN Day for Older Persons in October 2011, said about the organization, "Their tireless work has enabled the poorest and most vulnerable older people to claim their rights to challenge discrimination and to try to overcome poverty. It's for this reason that HelpAge International is such a worthy winner of the prestigious Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Award."

Bachelet, the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, who delivered the keynote at last year's Hilton Prize ceremony, said, "For girls and women and the growing number of older women, the great progress we have made over the last few decades, is not enough. Until all of us share the same opportunities and public services, we can never truly prosper. I salute all of the good people and good work being done by HelpAge International. If we want to build a better world, we must put equal opportunity right at the center of our efforts, because when girls and women are empowered, the benefits extend to all of us."

HelpAge International, headquartered in London, was formed in 1983 by organizations in Canada, Colombia, Kenya, India and the United Kingdom that had similar missions to support older people. Today it encompasses 94 HelpAge Affiliates in 70 countries and more than 3,000 independent partner groups and older people's organizations. HelpAge has trained 25,000 professionals and 16,000 community members-including older people themselves-to provide health care, legal advice and financial support for older people.

The Hilton Prize receives nominations from throughout the world each year, and a distinguished independent international jury makes the final selection.

"Since 1996, the Hilton Prize has recognized organizations making extraordinary humanitarian contributions throughout the world. We hope that HelpAge International's work will be an inspiration to other organizations and raise awareness of this critical humanitarian issue," said Judy Miller, vice president of the Hilton Foundation and director of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize.


Carolyn McEwen, Hilton Foundation
+1 (310) 473-8090


Broadcast-quality videos of Desmond Tutu, Tony Blair, Michelle Bachelet regarding HelpAge International's receipt of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize available for download using the following coordinates:

user name: hilton (note lowercase in both)

password: helpage

Social Media
@hiltonprize | #HiltonPrize | @helpage

About Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize:
The Hilton Prize jury currently includes: Princess Salimah Aga Khan, international ambassador for SOS Kinderdorf International; Catherine A. Bertini, professor of public administration, Syracuse University, and former executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme; Gro Harlem Brundtland, MPH, former director-general of the World Health Organization and former prime minister of Norway; Eric M. Hilton, director, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and son of the late Conrad Hilton; James R. Galbraith, director, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, humanitarian, founder and executive chairman of Econet Wireless; and Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Laureate in economics and Lamont University professor at Harvard University.

The Hilton Prize Laureates are recognized leaders in the humanitarian world and include: Handicap International (France), 2011; Aravind Eye Care System (India) 2010; PATH (Washington), 2009; BRAC (Bangladesh), 2008; Tostan (Senegal), 2007; Women for Women International (Washington, DC), 2006; Partners In Health (Massachusetts), 2005; Heifer International (Arkansas), 2004; International Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims (Denmark), 2003; SOS Children's Villages (Austria), 2002; St. Christopher's Hospice (United Kingdom), 2001; Casa Alianza (Costa Rica), 2000; AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) (Kenya), 1999; Doctors Without Borders (France), 1998; International Rescue Committee (New York), 1997; and Operation Smile (Virginia), 1996.

About HelpAge International
HelpAge International is a global network of organizations helping older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. For more information, please visit:

About Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world's disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in five priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, caring for vulnerable children, and extending Conrad Hilton's support for the work of Catholic Sisters. Following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to alleviate human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants and in 2011 distributed $82 million to organizations in the U.S. and throughout the world. The Foundation's current assets are approximately $2 billion.

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