Dr. Jane Goodall Honored as Templeton Prize Laureate for 2021

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Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, has been a phenomenon in the fields of animal behavioral research, conservation, and activism for decades and now has the great honor of being the Templeton Prize laureate for 2021.

The Templeton Prize honors individuals whose exemplary achievements advance Sir John Templeton’s philanthropic vision: harnessing the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humankind’s place and purpose within it. Dr. Goodall has always lived at the intersection of humanity’s greatest philosophical question, ‘What does it mean to be human as part of the natural world?’ and groundbreaking research to drive tremendous insights that continue to shape our times for the better, over 60 years and going. Celebrating Dr. Goodall’s outstanding achievements and global impact in the realms of science and conservation, the Templeton Prize affirms her role as a singular figure of the last century catalyzing positive change on an international scale. As Jane continues to spread her message of hope and individual action, the recognition of this prize further advances Jane’s vision for a harmonious world where people, other animals, and the environment thrive.

“I have learned more about the two sides of human nature, and I am convinced that there are more good than bad people. There are so many tackling seemingly impossible tasks and succeeding. Only when head and heart work in harmony can we attain our true human potential.

I can identify closely with the motto that Sir John Templeton chose for his foundation, How little we know, how eager to learn, and I am eternally thankful that my curiosity and desire to learn is as strong as it was when I was a child. I understand that the deep mysteries of life are forever beyond scientific knowledge and ‘now we see through a glass darkly; then face to face.'”

– Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Goodall receives the 2021 Templeton Prize in celebration of her remarkable career, which arose from and was sustained by a keen scientific and spiritual curiosity. Through her trailblazing scientific research on wild chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania, the creation of Jane’s global community-led conservation, research, and animal welfare non-profit the Jane Goodall Institute, and the establishment of the international youth empowerment program Roots & Shoots, Dr. Goodall has inspired millions and delivered on life-changing impact worldwide. She continues with the same momentum at age 87, continuing to reach global audiences through regular advocacy work, public speaking, and the Jane Goodall Hopecast Podcast.

Jane is the first ethologist and the fourth woman to receive the Templeton Prize since its inception in 1972. The Templeton Prize winner is selected following an extensive selection process that mobilizes an anonymous group of expert nominators from a diverse cross-section of fields, followed by a rigorous ranking process through a panel of judges, who have included royals, former presidents, scientists, and religious leaders. Judges rank nominees according to a range of criteria before scores are calculated for a winner.

Dr. Goodall joins a list of 50 Prize recipients including St. Teresa of Kolkata (the inaugural award in 1973), the Dalai Lama (2012), and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2013). Last year’s Templeton Prize went to geneticist and physician Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health and leader of the Human Genome Project, for his demonstration of how religious faith can motivate and inspire rigorous scientific research. Other scientists who have won the Prize include Martin Rees (2011), John Barrow (2006), George Ellis (2004), Freeman Dyson (2000), and Paul Davies (1995).

Learn more at www.templetonprize.org/2021


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The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Associate Director of Communications & Partnerships at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Jane Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission to create a better world for all by protecting the interconnections between people, other animals, and the environment. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is currently a Master's of Science Candidate for Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Environmental Justice. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, now a D.C. resident, she has a varied background including nearly 10 years of expert communications and digital marketing in the social and environmental non-profit sector. Her intersectional approach to this work has been shaped by a holistic world-view, having traveled to Madagascar and Ecuador for conservation research projects, leading communications for youth social justice filmmaking programs, and as a part of several professional groups advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in environmental spaces. With skills ranging from conservation fieldwork, policy and advocacy campaigns, strategic communications, art, digital media, and design, Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to change hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she is igniting positive change to create that better, more equitable world, every day.