Yolanda Kakabadse (2005)
Award Presented at the Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
Yolanda Kakabadse, a native of Ecuador, was recognized with the 2005 Lindbergh Award for her lengthy record of coordinating the efforts of international environmental agencies, and for resolving conflicts between industry and environmental concerns throughout Latin America and the world. She has been an environmental leader since 1979 when she co-founded Fundacion Natura in Ecuador, one of the world's most effective national environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). She went on to become Ecuador's Minister of the Environment, then served two terms as President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world's largest association of conservation agencies and organizations, until 2004.
In the 1960s, Charles Lindbergh met with IUCN leaders and volunteered to watch endangered species as he traveled the world, and ultimately began cataloguing exotic animals in each of the countries he visited. More recently Ms. Kakabadse founded the Foundation for the Future of Latin America ("FFLA"), which has been a leader in conflict resolution around environmental issues on the continent, especially sustainable development as it relates to energy, trade and forest management. She describes herself as an engineer because she looks for solutions to problems. However, she is also a strong moral leader who has written and spoken often on the role of ethics in globalization and how to find ways of giving higher priority to "being" rather than "having." "We have prioritized 'having' over 'being' ... we practice remediation instead of prevention, and science and technology are developing powerful weapons of destruction instead of instruments of creation," Kakabadse said at the Earth Dialogues Forum in Lyon, France, in 2002.
She serves on the Board of Governors at the Nature Conservancy, and is a member of the board of directors at the Ford Foundation and the World Resources Institute. She is a member of the Environmental Advisory Board at Coca-Cola, was recently inducted as the first member of the Wildlife Trust Alliance Advisory Council, and previously served on the board of the World Wide Fund for Nature - International. Ms. Kakabadse has received numerous awards for her work including: the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Programme, the Golden Ark Order bestowed by Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, and the Zayed Prize in 2001, the world's highest environmental prize.