On Sunday, March 15th, Queen Noor and actor Edward Norton will receive the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment’s 2009 Global Environmental Citizen Award. Past recipients of this award include Harrison Ford, Jane Goodall, Prince Charles, Al Gore, Bill Moyers, Kofi Annan, and Alice Waters.
This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to furthering knowledge about the global environment and promoting awareness about the need to protect natural resources.
How many people know that Queen Noor received a B.A. in architecture and urban planning from Princeton University and traces her environmental activism back to her freshman year at Princeton University when the first Earth Day was commemorated? Today, Queen Noor is a Patron of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the oldest international conservation organization in the world.
She is also
- Honorary President of BirdLife International, which has the widest global network of conservation organizations.
- Ambassador of Future Harvest, an international organization promoting public understanding of the relation between international agricultural research and global peace, prosperity, environmental renewal, health, and the alleviation of human suffering.
- A Member of the International Commission on Peace and Food (ICPF), which is an independent, non-political, non-profit organization of political leaders, heads of international agencies, scientists and other professionals from 15 nations founded in 1989 to redirect military resources into programs to promote peace, democracy, food security and employment.
- President of the United World Colleges (UWC), a network of 10 equal-opportunity international colleges around the world that aim to foster cross-cultural understanding and global peace
On June 5, 1995, Queen Noor received thte United Nations Environmental Program Global 500 Award for her activism in environmental protection, in promoting awareness and in initiating community action for the preservation of Jordan’s natural heritage. She also recently joined the board of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
One of my favorite actors of all time, academy award nominee, Edward Norton founded and runs Class 5 Films in partnership with writer Stuart Blumberg and producer Bill Migliore. Class 5 collaborated with the Sea Studios Foundation on the highly acclaimed, multi-million dollar series about earth system sciences for National Geographic, Strange Days on Planet Earth, which Norton hosts and narrates, and which aired on PBS. Strange Days first aired in the spring of 2005, reached 20 million viewers and won fourteen prestigious awards, including Best Series at Wildscreen, the environmental equivalent of the Oscars ®.
Norton serves on the Board of Trustees of the Enterprise Foundation, which works to move families up and out of poverty and transform low-income communities through the development of decent affordable housing and social service networks. Enterprise works in over 250 American cities and is one of the largest non-profit developers of affordable housing in America with well over 100,000 new affordable homes created in the last two decades. Edward Co-Chaired Enterprise’s successful $125 million capital campaign which he led with a personal contribution of $1.1 million. Enterprise was created by his grandfather, James Rouse, the celebrated developer and philanthropist.
Solar Neighbors Program
Norton also conceived and negotiated a groundbreaking arrangement with BP Solar to provide solar power technology to low-income homeowners in Los Angeles. Through the Solar Neighbors program, each time a celebrity or public figure buys a home solar system, BP will donate a full system to a low-income family, eliminating most or all of their electricity costs for as long as they own their home. Over 25 actors, musicians, politicians and broadcasters have purchased systems for their homes and BP has donated over 25 systems to low-income families. The selection of the families and administration of the fund are handled by the Enterprise Foundation’s Los Angeles office.
Middle East Peacemakers Fund
Another of Norton’s projects is the Peacemakers Fund at Yale University. As a response to the events of September 11th and the increasing conflict in the Middle East, Norton contributed $100,000 to establish a fund that will provide travel study grants that give college undergraduates opportunities to study in the Middle East.
Friends of the High Line
Norton is also one of the founding Board members of Friends of the High Line, an advocacy group working to convert an abandoned freight rail line into a unique and spectacular park. Running over two miles through Manhattan’s industrial West Side, the High Line will be one of the largest additions of public space in the history of New York City. Norton has hosted FoHL’s gala fundraisers for the last three years and been a major financial supporter of the effort. In less than five years, FoHL has prevented the destruction of this major piece of historic infrastructure and secured the city, state, federal and private support necessary to redevelop the line as a park. Groundbreaking on the project took place in April 2006.
In addition to these efforts, Norton is a major financial supporter of: the Nature Conservancy’s Yunnan Great Rivers conservation project, the Masai Conservation Trust, the Grand Canyon Trust, EarthJustice, the Wilderness Society, the Southern Center for Human Rights, American Museum of Natural History, Credit Where Credit is Due, the American Visionary Arts Museum and the Johns Hopkins Neuro-oncology Research Lab.