The 2010 Jane Goodall Institute Global leadership Awards Celebration

Dr. Jane Goodall Honors The National Geographic Society,
Actress Charlize Theron, Among Others

Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Gombe Research

Washington, D.C. – Renowned primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and UN Messenger of Peace, brought her message of hope to the nation’s capital Monday night for the fourth annual Jane Goodall Institute Global Leadership Awards Celebration. The event took place at The George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium.

The evening’s festivities commemorated Dr. Goodall’s extraordinary accomplishments over the past 50 years while honoring the work and achievements of individuals and organizations that embody the Institute’s mission by taking informed and compassionate action on behalf of all living things. The program, which included the awards presentation, prominently featured an intimate conversation between Dr. Goodall and JGI President Maureen P. Smith in which they discussed Dr. Goodall’s career and achievements, as well as her favorite comedy movie, greatest inspiration and hopes for the future.

The 2010 Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award winners included:

  • The National Geographic Society for Excellence in Social Responsibility;
  • Actress Charlize Theron for Responsible Activism in Media and Entertainment;
  • Mark J. Plotkin, president of the Amazon Conservation Team, for Global Leadership;
  • Dr. Rick Asselta for Excellence in Education; and
  • Kai Neander, Jessica French and Arun Krishnamurthy for Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Global Youth Leadership.


This year’s award ceremony had special significance as 2010 marks a monumental milestone for the Institute and Dr. Goodall. Fifty years ago, Dr. Goodall first set foot on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, in what is now Tanzania’s Gombe National Park. The chimpanzee behavioral research she pioneered there has produced a wealth of scientific discovery, and her vision has expanded into a global mission to empower people to make a difference for all living things.

When discussing the next 50 years and how we can address the problems facing the planet, Dr. Goodall told the audience, “We’ve all got to agree to get together and involve our hearts, as well as our heads, when we make decisions. And we must ask ourselves, ‘How will this decision affect our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren.’ Not just the big decisions, but all the little ones that we make each day.”

Terry Garcia, the National Geographic Society’s executive vice president of mission programs, accepted the Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award for Excellence in Social Responsibility on behalf of the society. In his remarks, Garcia stated, “How fortunate we are that Louis Leakey was so persistent and told us so many years ago that we needed to meet and then support an amazing young woman who wanted to study chimpanzees in Africa. It was quite a leap of faith. But 26 grants, 25 National Geographic articles, 24 National Geographic films and four National Geographic books later, I think you would agree with me that it was a leap well worth taking.”

In addition, National Geographic created a video for the festivities chronicling Dr. Goodall and the society’s shared history.

This year’s celebration was made possible in part due to support from Disneynature and The George Washington University. In addition, in keeping with the Jane Goodall Institute’s philosophy of environmental responsibility, Occasions Caterers, the nation’s first catering company recognized as a Certified Green Restaurant Caterer, provided vegetarian and locally sourced refreshments at a VIP reception.


About the Jane Goodall Institute
Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute continues Dr. Goodall’s pioneering research on chimpanzee behavior—research that transformed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals. Today, the Institute is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It also is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, the global environmental and humanitarian youth program, which has groups in more than 120 countries. For more information, please visit

About Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots
Founded in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students, the Roots & Shoots program is about making positive change happen—for our communities, for animals and for the environment. With hundreds of thousands of young people in more than 120 countries, the Roots & Shoots network connects youth of all ages who share a desire to create a better world. Young people identify problems in their communities and take action. Through service projects, youth-led campaigns and an interactive website, Roots & Shoots members are making a difference across the globe. For more information, please visit



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