Sir David Attenborough and Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, have been named as recipients of the 2019 Chatham House Prize.
The Chatham House Prize is awarded yearly to the person, persons or organization deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
Attenborough (pictured) and Hector were selected for the galvanizing impact of BBC’s Blue Planet II series on tackling ocean plastic pollution. Blue Planet II highlighted the damage caused by discarded plastics to the world’s oceans and marine wildlife, sparking a global conversation on conservation and global environmental challenges.
Other nominees for the award included Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia, nominated for his efforts to transform civic leadership and promote plural politics, free speech and peace in Ethiopia; as well as Katrín Jakobsdóttir, prime minister of Iceland, nominated for her commitment to gender equality and women’s financial inclusion in Iceland.
“Plastic pollution is one of the gravest challenges facing the world’s oceans, and undoubtedly an international issue,” said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, in a statement. “Sir David and the BBC Studios Natural History Unit played an instrumental role in helping to put this issue at the forefront of the public agenda. Blue Planet II spurred a passionate global response and generated clear behavioral and policy change.”
The prize will be presented to Attenborough and Hector at a live-streamed event at Chatham House in London tomorrow (Nov. 20).