From left: Dr Moses Cheng, Dr Lui Che-woo and Professor Lawrence Lau. Photo courtesy of the Lui Che Woo Prize Foundation
From left: Dr Moses Cheng, Dr Lui Che-woo and Professor Lawrence Lau. Photo courtesy of the Lui Che Woo Prize Foundation

Organizers of the Lui Che Woo Prizes, established in 2015 by the chairman of Hong Kong’s Galaxy Entertainment, Lui Che-woo, have unveiled this year’s winners of the Positive Energy Prize, Welfare Betterment Prize and Sustainability Prize.

The Pratham Education Foundation, a non-governmental organization in India, was named on Friday as the winner of the 2018 Positive Energy Prize, which specifically focused on the elimination of illiteracy. Dedicated to improving the quality of education and contributing to literacy attainment, Pratham directly helps a million children attain basic literacy and numeracy annually.

The World Meteorological Organization, a unit of the United Nations, was awarded the 2018 Welfare Betterment Prize under the theme of “Reduction of the Impact of Natural Disasters.” The WMO sets worldwide standards and provides a framework for international cooperation by encouraging its 191 member states and territories to implement the adopted policies, leading to better monitoring, forecasting and communication of meteorological hazards on a global scale.

Hans-Josef Fell, a former member of the German Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/Greens from 1998 to 2013, won the 2018 Sustainability Prize with the specific area of focus “Development of Renewable Energy.” Fell founded the world’s first energy community to produce solar power in 1994, transforming the market for renewable energy, and successfully fought for the adoption of the Renewable Energy Act in the German parliament.

Each winner of the Lui Che Woo Prizes receives a cash award of HK$20 million (US$2.54 million), which is higher than the Shaw Prize (US$1.2 million), Nobel Prize (US$1.1 million) and Yidan Prize (US$1.9 million in cash plus another US$1.9 million sponsorship for new projects).

The Lui Che Woo Prize was established to “honor individuals who act as a positive role model to society.”

Lui was joined on Friday by Lawrence Lau Juen-yee and Moses Cheng Mo-chi at the announcement of the latest laureates.

Lau, former vice-chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and former non-official member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, is the chairman of the Prize Recommendation Committee. Cheng, chairman of Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority, is a member of the Lui Che Woo Prize board.

“The three laureates have made exceptional contributions to promoting sustainable development [and] the betterment of mankind’s welfare, as well as spreading positive energy to the world,” Lui said.

This is the first year without any winners from China. Lui said the prize should not be restricted by race, gender, faith or nationality. “I hope winners in the future are from China, the United Kingdom, Europe and everywhere,” he said.

The official award ceremony will be held in October, while the nominations for the 2019 prizes will begin next month.