Jane Goodall Named "Messenger of Peace" by UN

National Geographic News
April 16, 2002

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has honored primatologist and environmentalist Jane Goodall as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

A National Geographic explorer-in-residence, Goodall is famous for her pioneering research with chimpanzees in Tanzania, which began with a grant from National Geographic in 1961.

Since 1997, Annan has appointed a number of prominent people to serve as Messengers of Peace: Three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, international tennis player Vijay Amritraj, journalist Anna Cataldi, film and television actor and producer Michael Douglas, singer-composer Enrico Macias, basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson, jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel—and now Jane Goodall.

"They are individuals who possess widely recognized talents in the field of arts, literature, music and sports, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations," a United Nations spokesperson said Tuesday. "Dr. Goodall's appointment adds the field of science to the range of contributions of these prominent personalities."

Messengers of Peace agree to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations. In return, they receive a formal framed citation and a lapel pin in the form of a dove exclusively designed by artist Leni Fuhrman.

"It is an honor to be appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace by the Secretary-General," Goodall said. "I will pledge to take the new responsibility very seriously. I shall attempt to carry the appropriate message as I travel around the world."

Goodall said that as a Messenger of Peace she would help raise popular support for certain United Nations initiatives. "I think Kofi Annan is one of the real heroes of our time. It is a great privilege for me to be a goodwill ambassador for this great leader."

In recognition of Goodall's exceptional contribution to the advancement of research, education and advocacy on environmental issues, Secretary-General Annan also appointed her a member of an advisory panel to assist in promoting the goals of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002. The panel was also given the task of looking at new approaches to sustainable development.

In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute, which supports the continued research on primates in the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Tanzania, as well as other environmental research, education and conservation programmes. The Gombe Stream Research Centre was founded by Goodall in 1964 to support her work on chimpanzees. It is one of the longest uninterrupted wildlife studies in existence. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Jane Goodall Institute is the center of a network of institutes in 13 other countries, including Canada, China, Holland, Uganda and South Africa.

The Institute's programs include: a sustainable development and conservation initiative involving 33 villages around Lake Tanganyika, which provides health education, secondary school scholarships for girls, supports tree nurseries operated by local people, lends micro-enterprise support, and helps improve agricultural productivity; the Congo Basin Project, established to prevent the annihilation of chimpanzees; and the "Roots and Shoots" program which encourages and supports students, from preschool through university, in projects that benefit people, animals and the environment.

More than 4,000 "Roots and Shoots" groups exist in nearly 70 countries around the world. Goodall is the author of numerous publications, including: In the Shadow of Man and Through a Window—overviews of her work at Gombe, the spiritual autobiography, Reason for Hope, two autobiographies in letters—Africa in My Blood and Beyond Innocence, and many children's books. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behaviour is recognized as the definitive work on chimpanzees, and is the culmination of her scientific career.

Goodall's honors include the Medal of Tanzania for her environmental work, the National Geographic Hubbard Medal, awarded for distinction in exploration, discovery and research, and Japan's Kyoto Prize. In 2001, she received the third Gandhi/King Award for Nonviolence, presented by the World Movement for Nonviolence.

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