The Delta Prize for Global Understanding, endowed by Delta Air Lines and administered by the University of Georgia, is awarded on an annual basis to individuals who by their own initiative have provided opportunities for greater understanding among cultures and nations. The inaugural Delta Prize went to Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, and the Carter Center in 1999.

Professors Gary K. Bertsch, director of the Center for International Trade and Security, and Betty Jean Craige, director of the Center for Humanities and Arts, both at the University of Georgia, established the Delta Prize for Global Understanding in 1997 with an $890,000 endowment grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation. The prize honors a variety of contributions to peace and cooperation, such as grassroots projects that diminish hostilities in a particular region of the world, international programs that facilitate communication or commerce among different peoples, and the leadership of individuals in the solution of global problems.

The Delta Prize consists of a $10,000 cash award and the Delta Prize medallion, which Athens artists Barbara Mann and Gary Noffke designed in 1998. The medallion portrays the earth with the abstracted continents in low relief.

Recipients of the Delta Prize are:

1999 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and the Carter Center

2000 Desmond Tutu

2001 Mikhail Gorbachev

2002 Sadako Ogata

2004 Vaclav Havel

2005 Gertrude Ibengwe Mongella

2006 Ted Turner

2007 Nelson Mandela

2008 Martti Ahtisaari

2009 Mohamed ElBaradei

2012 Romeo A. Dallaire

The Delta Prize Program, located in the Center for the Humanities and Arts, accepts nominations at all times of the year. A Student Selection Committee, composed primarily of University of Georgia Foundation Fellows, screens nominations in the fall semester of every academic year and provides a short list to the international Delta Prize Board, which chooses the Delta Prize recipient at its annual meeting. The prize is normally bestowed at an award ceremony held in the spring.

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Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, received the Delta Prize for Global Understanding in 2004. Havel was recognized for his efforts against communist political repression in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as for his leadership in creating a more peaceful Europe.

Image from Jiří Jiroutek