The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize


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Dame Stephanie Shirley 
Photo credit: Scott Rudd
Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley
Business Technology Pioneer and Philanthropist
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Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley is a highly successful entrepreneur turned ardent philanthropist.
Having arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939, she started what became Xansa on her dining room table with £6 in 1962. In 25 years as its Chief Executive she developed it into a leading business technology group, pioneering new work practices and changing the position of professional women (especially in hi-tech) along the way.
Since retiring in 1993, she has served on corporate Boards such as Tandem Computers Inc. (1992-7), the John Lewis Partnership plc (1999-2001) and the European Advisory Board of Korn/Ferry International (2001-4). But her focus has been increasingly on philanthropy based on her strong belief in business people giving something back to society. Her main interests are autism (her autistic son Giles died age 35 in 1998) and making better use of IT in the voluntary sector. She is also much in demand as a keynote speaker at international conferences.
Her charitable Shirley Foundation is now one of the top 50 grant-giving foundations in the UK with £50m grants given over the past seven years. It has initiated and funded a number of projects that are pioneering by nature, strategic in impact and significant in money terms. Current activity is focussed on Autistica in the UK and internationally, dedicated to fund research into the causes of autism and hence halve the global cost of the disorder by 2020.
Xansa was acquired by Steria in 2007.

Ursula von Rydingsvard
Sculptor and Pearl Meister Greengard Prize Co-founder
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Ursula von Rydingsvard, Ursula von Rydingsvard is a sculptor who has been working in Brooklyn, New York for the past 30 years. Von Rydingsvard is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from cedar beams, which she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates, finally rubbing powdered graphite into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces. She deliberately uses cedar boards milled into 4” x 4” widths with varied lengths, creating a neutrality or “blank canvas” which enables her to dip into a wide range of possibilities often within the arena of the psychological and emotional. Her signature abstract shapes refer to things in the real world—simple vessels, bowls, tools and other objects—each revealing the mark of the human hand while also summoning natural forms and forces.

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Sylvia Earle
Oceanographer, environmentalist, and aquanaut
Chairwoman and Founder, Sylvia Earle Alliance

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Sylvia A. Earle, called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations including the Kerr McGee Corporation, Dresser Industries, Oryx Energy, the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Research, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Ocean Futures, and Ocean Conservancy.

Formerly Chief Scientist of NOAA, Dr. Earle is a National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Founder of SEAlliance, Mission Blue, and Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., and Chairs Advisory Councils for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies; the Ocean in Google Earth; the Marine Science and Technology Foundation and the Schmidt Research Vessel Institute. She has a B.S. degree from Florida State University, M.S. and PhD. from Duke University, 19 honorary degrees, has lectured in more than 80 countries, appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions and has authored more than 175 scientific, technical and popular publications
including Exploring the Deep Frontier, Sea Change, Wild Ocean, Dive, The National Geographic Atlas of the Ocean and The World is Blue.

Dr Earle has led more than 100 expeditions and logged nearly 7000 hours underwater with a record solo dive to 1000 meters and nine saturation dives including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project. Her research concerns marine algae and deep water ecosystems with special reference to exploration, conservation and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments.

She has been awarded more than 100 national and international honors including the 2009 TED Prize, the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Academy of Achievement, and medals from the Explorers Club, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Lindbergh Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, Barnard College, Society of Women Geographers, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Natural Resources Council.

Michelle Bachelet
Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director,
UN Women
and President of Chile, 2006-2010

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Michelle Bachelet is the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women.  Under Ms. Bachelet’s leadership, UN Women leads, supports and coordinates the United Nations’ work on gender equality and the empowerment of women at the global, regional and country level.

Ms. Bachelet served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010. A long-time champion of women’s rights, she has advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout her career. As President, she invested significantly in pension reform, social protection programmes for women and children, and research and development. During her Presidency, the number of free early child-care centres for low-income families tripled and some 3,500 child-care centres were established around the country.

Ms. Bachelet also held ministerial portfolios in the Chilean Government as Minister of Defense and Minister of Health. As Defense Minister, Ms. Bachelet introduced gender policies intended to improve the conditions of women in the military and police forces. As Minister of Health, she implemented health-care reform, improving attention to primary care facilities with the aim of ensuring better and faster health-care response for families.

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Photo credit: Darren Ornitz
Andrea Mitchell
Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent,
NBC News
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Wafaa El-Sadr
Professor of Clinical Medicine and Epidemiology,
Columbia University
Chief of Infectious Disease,
Harlem Hospital Center
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Mary Robinson
President, Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice and
President of Ireland, 1990-1997
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Martha Sharp Joukowsky
Professor Emerita
Institute of Archaeology & the Ancient World,
Brown University
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Joan Didion
Author and Journalist
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Helen Thomas
Author, Reporter and Columnist
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Photo credit: Bruce Gilbert
Sandra Day O'Connor
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice
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