2022Sunhak Peace Prize
- 2022 Feb. 12
- HJ Global Art Center, Gapyeong, Korea
Sunhak Peace Prize Introductory Video
- Jose Manuel Barroso
- Committee Chair
Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen, distinguished guests.
It gives me great pleasure as Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize to send you this warm message of greetings here from Lisbon. But first, let me pay tribute and say some words of recognition to the vision of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for the generous patronage of this prize. For a long time, commitment, and advocacy of the values of global citizenship, sustainable development, and above all, World Peace.
The idea behind this Sunhak Peace Prize is simple, which is making the world better for future generations. The idea is to promote values of truly global cooperation, transcending barriers of race, religion, nationality, or culture. The Prize encourages all peoples of the world today to dedicate themselves to advancing peace by promoting dialogue and cooperation over conflict and confrontation.
I have the honor to share a very distinguished jury, a very distinguished group of people that took these decisions this year by secret vote, and they have decided to recognize the work of one person and one organization.
Scientific innovation, as well as international solidarity and multilateral cooperation, are necessary to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which jeopardized the lives of everyone. Health is a matter of science and medicine, but it's also a matter of basic and fundamental human rights. Paradoxically, I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is giving us an opportunity to drive real change. We do not know when the next pandemic will occur, but the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that solidarity and cooperation based on humanity are the solutions to the global crisis.
This Pandemic has shown to us that we really need to have global cooperation to promote global public goods. This pandemic has shown us that science and multilateralism work. I thank you for your attention and I congratulate the laureates of this year's Sunhak Peace Prize. Thank you.
- Dame Sarah Catherine Gilbert
- 2022 Sunhak
Peace Prize Laureate
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, Chairman Barroso, Distinguished Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen.
It is a very great honour to be selected to receive the Sunhak Peace Prize, and to follow on from the prestigious laureates who have received the award in previous years. Two years ago, it would have never had occurred to me that I might be considered for such an award.
I am a scientist working at the University of Oxford in the UK, and for some years my research has been on the development of vaccines against viruses that are known to cause outbreaks. I had been part of a team that worked on the rapid clinical development of a vaccine against Ebola in 2014, when the largest outbreak of that disease that is known to us occurred happened in West Africa. Vaccine development moved quickly at first, but then paused whilst decisions were made on the next steps to be taken. Opportunities to test more than one vaccine for protective efficacy were lost. From my place in the team, I was able to observe what had gone well, and where delays had crept in. I took note of the importance of planning many steps ahead, should we ever find ourselves in a similar situation.
At the very beginning of 2020, I began to respond to reports of a new virus that was causing disease and spreading rapidly. As the virus spread, our team grew; our vaccine was produced, tested, and eventually licensed for emergency use. I had the great privilege to work with many experts, all using their knowledge and experience, along with an incredible amount of hard work, to make the vaccine widely available as fast as we could. Our partners AstraZeneca agreed to produce the vaccine without profit during the pandemic, and to continue with that pricing strategy in low- and middle-income countries around the world even after the pandemic ends. Vaccine manufacturing has taken place in many countries around the world with the aim of maximising the supply, and the benefit that the vaccine can bring. It is now in use in at least 170 countries, and over 2.5 billion doses have been produced.
By now, more than 60% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. Now that large numbers of many different vaccines are available, there is still more to do to assist with the deployment of vaccines in all countries. But for many of us, we can now look forward to our lives returning to normal as the impact of the pandemic reduces.
Except that we cannot simply go back to normal as if the last two years did not take place. Again, we must learn from what worked, and what did not. We must increase the number of manufacturing facilities across the world as part of ensuring a more equitable supply of vaccines in the future. And we must continue to develop technologies in disease surveillance and diagnostics as well as vaccines.
During the pandemic there have been examples of highly beneficial international collaborations, not least in the phase III trials of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine which took place in many countries around the world. Wherever we live, whatever our income and whatever our political views, we must understand that viruses do not recognise these differences, and that no-one is safe until we are all safe. We must continue to work together to strengthen our defences, not against each other, but against our common enemy; the pathogenic micro-organisms that can bring harm. We can achieve so much when we work together, each bringing our different strengths. The work we did to produce the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was exhausting and overwhelming at times, but ultimately vital and rewarding. I hope that many young people will be inspired in their career choice by knowing about what we achieved, and that governments and international organisations will work together to ensure that next time we need to respond to a disease threat, we will be better prepared than we were in 2020. Thank you.
- Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance
- 2022 Sunhak
Peace Prize Laureate
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation members, my colleague and fellow laureate Sarah Gilbert, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor and privilege to receive this prize on behalf of the Gavi Alliance. I am very, very sorry to not be able to join you in person, but my duties required me to stay here in Geneva.
Making the world better for future generations is a shared goal and I’d like to commend Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, for your tireless work turning this ambition into a reality. Your creation of this prestigious award has done so much to shine a light on those working to improve the world we live in. I thank you for your commitment to bettering humanity. Of course, for us at the Vaccine Alliance, making the world better means improving the health of hundreds of millions of the world’s children. It means protecting them, and more recently, their parents against deadly diseases through vaccination. It means helping to ensure everybody, no matter where they’re born, has an equal chance at a healthy future.
It is through this work improving health equitably across the world that we can help foster stable, prosperous, and peaceful societies. Good health is the bedrock on which prosperity can be built. A child free from diseases is more likely to go to school. Their parents are less likely to take time off work to care for them through illness. Their finances are less likely to be burdened by hospital or clinic fees. A healthier society is a wealthier society and from this prosperity comes stability and peace. Time and time again, history shows us that broken economies lead to nationalism, to crisis and to conflict. Of course, right now we’re seeing this interplay between health economics and stability play out in real-time around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cost the global economy trillions of dollars on top of millions of lives lost and the global political landscape has never looked more fragile. We have seen countries retreat into vaccine nationalism, instituting export bans, and buying up many more COVID-19 vaccine doses than they need for their populations in their time of short supply.
We are at a crossroads. One path, the path of nationalism and insularity, could lead us to increased insecurity and the continued spread and evolution of COVID-19. The other path available to us is that of shared partnership. We can defeat this global pandemic and end this economic toll but only by working together. The spirit of partnership and multilateralism embodied by the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation and the distinguished laureates up until now has also been embodied by Gavi since its creation in 2000. We are an alliance, a partnership encompassing international organizations like the WHO and UNICEF, civil society, vaccine manufacturers, donor governments, and the governments of the countries we exist to serve.
Each plays an instrumental role in the work we do. This partnership has achieved incredible results. Our alliance now helps immunize nearly half the world’s children against diseases from measles to diphtheria, pneumonia to polio. Over the past two decades, we’ve immunized more than 900 million additional children reducing vaccine-preventable diseases by 70%, contributing to more than a 50% reduction in child mortality in the lower-income countries we serve.
However, COVID-19 has put this progress at risk. 2020 saw vaccine rates dropped in lower-income countries for the first time in decades due to fear and lockdowns as well as the fact that health systems were forced to turn their focus and attention to the pandemic. Our alliance is working hard with countries to get routine immunization back on track.
But of course, the best way to reduce the impact of the pandemic is to bring it to an end. To help do this, we have brought the decades of experience to bear on the creation of a multilateral solution to this pandemic alongside WHO, CEPI and UNICEF. We’ve created a true world first in COVAX. For the first time, we have a platform through which the world can come together to ensure fair, equitable access to vaccines for every country and every population during a pandemic. This is not just the morally just thing to do. It is also in everybody’s self-interest as the best route out of the pandemic. The longer we leave large portions of the global population unvaccinated, the more chance this disease has to mutate and evolve. Global equitable vaccination remains our best hope in preventing this.
As a multilateral solution to a global crisis, COVAX works. In the 12 months since our first doses were administered, we’ve delivered over a billion doses of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines around the world. 90% of these doses went to lower-income countries at no cost to them. Thanks to an incredible effort from our COVAX partners, governments and army of vaccinators and health workers around the world, COVAX vaccines are now reaching people in every corner of the world, from the Sahara to the peaks of the Himalayas.
Of course, the pandemic is far from over. 2022 will be another challenging year, but we’ve proved that our multilateral solutions to this pandemic can work. With further support, we can fulfill COVAX’s mission to end vaccine inequality and end the pain and suffering that COVID has brought to so many of us.
I’d like to also take this opportunity to thank the Republic of Korea, who has been supporting Gavi’s core mission since 2010 and last year made a historic $200 million contribution to COVAX, helping us procure vaccines for countries most in need. We are deeply grateful for this support. I accept this prize as just one representative of an alliance that encompasses not just the Gavi secretary in Geneva, but also hundreds of thousands of partners, immunization managers, and health workers across the world, working day and night to ensure vaccines reach the vulnerable and helping to forge a better, healthier, more prosperous future for all of us. On behalf of all of us at the Vaccine Alliance, I thank you.
- Ehud Olmert
- The 12th Prime Minister of Israel
May I first thank Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for the inspiration and for the leadership that brought all of us here at this time under these circumstances. Every major development in human history, every revolution, every dramatic change in the quality of life of people living in different parts of the world always started with one person; a person that had the courage to step forward when most other people could not; a person who had the vision to look forward when most other people did not; a person who had the imagination, the creativity, the fearless attitude to try something that has never been tried before and to take the risk because he believed that this can make a difference in the lives of people.
This person in our time at this place is Dame Professor Sarah Catherine Gilbert. She had the courage to dream what appeared to many to be impossible. She had the imagination to think of something that can make a difference when most other people in every part of the world was preoccupied with the fears, that genuine natural fears of the pandemic which spread across the world and which threatened the lives of so many people.
She started, and when she started she moved forward. And when she moved forward our life became safer and there was hope. She was not the only one obviously. There were others.
But I think that she represents the courage, the wisdom, the scientific expertise, the experience, and most important of all, the ability to look forward rather than to be tied up to the present and fear to take the one step ahead of others that will make the difference. Thank you, professor, for what you have done.
There could be no impart for the creation of this vaccine had there not been an organization that could reach out for all those who need the vaccine so that they will be able to benefit from it. There are millions in the farthest places; there are millions in Africa, in South America, in Europe, in East Asia. Low-income people and low-income countries which were unable to somehow reach for the sources of these vaccines in order to use it to save the lives of their citizens, of their people. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, did it.
It has been an outstanding achievement, which manifested resourcefulness, creativity, strength, and absolute dedication. Devotion of thousands of people across the world could bring the billions of dollars for those whose lives were saved by this. I am sure although I was not officially authorized, but I have this feeling that while all of you sit with your masks and I can’t even see your faces, that I speak for you when I thank them.
Thank you very much.
‘2022 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony’
focuses on vaccine equity during the pandemic
Professor Dame Sarah Catherine Gilbert and
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, are co-laureates
● Dame Sarah Catherine Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology, University of Oxford, for co-developing AstraZeneca vaccine
● Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe
● Award ceremony held on Saturday, February 12, 10:00 AM at HJ Global Art Center, Gapyeong, Korea and broadcasted worldwide online
The 2022 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony was held on February 12, 10:00 AM at the HJ Global Art Center in Gapyeong, Korea by the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee (Chairman José Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission). The ceremony was held with live participants and broadcasted online, providing simultaneous translation in 13 different languages.
Dame Sarah Catherine Gilbert (59-years old, Professor of Vaccinology at Jenner Institute, University of Oxford) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (established in 2000) were the two laureates of the 2022 Sunhak Peace Prize, which focused on vaccine equity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor Sarah Gilbert was awarded for co-developing the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which is easier and less expensive to store and transport. She was especially recognized for her approaches to vaccine as a global public good against the COVID-19 pandemic, which she viewed as a common threat to humanity. She took a firm stand that the vaccine she developed was not for profit, and more than 2.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been supplied to 182 countries.
In her acceptance speech, Professor Sarah Gilbert stated, “We must continue to work together to strengthen our defences, not against each other, but against our common enemy; the pathogenic micro-organisms that can bring harm. We can achieve so much when we work together, each bringing our different strengths.” Furthermore, she commented on the future approach to infectious diseases that “we must learn from what worked, and what did not. We must increase the number of manufacturing facilities across the world as part of ensuring a more equitable supply of vaccines in the future. And we must continue to develop technologies in disease surveillance and diagnostics as well as vaccines.”
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was awarded for its contributions in saving lives in lower-income countries by coordinating the COVID-19 Global Access (COVAX) Facility and providing equitable access to vaccines. More than one billion doses of the coronavirus vaccines have been distributed in 144 countries through the COVAX Facility since the pandemic began. Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance joined the award ceremony via live stream from Switzerland.
Chairman Barroso remarked in his welcoming address that “viruses thrive by division, but we can defeat it through solidarity. Science gave us the tool to control the pandemic; however, we can only do it if we use them equitably, regardless of economic status. Dame Sarah Gilbert and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance emerged at the forefront of COVID-19 as the Avengers, the hero who led the collaboration to overcome nationalism and make vaccine equity possible.”
Founder of the Sunhak Peace Prize Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee José Manuel Barroso presented a medal and a plaque to the laureates, who also received a prize money of 500,000 U.S. dollars.
The Sunhak Peace Prize is awarded with a prize money of 1 million U.S. dollars to an individual or organization with significant contributions for peace and welfare of future generations.