Dr Peter Friess, President of the Tech Museum of Innovation, with the Lifeline radio

What a thrill to attend the 10th annual Tech Museum of Innovation Awards in Santa Clara on Saturday night. I was absolutely gob smacked that Peter Friess, the head of Silicon Valley’s Tech Museum walked on stage winding a Lifeline radio. Peter talked about the success of the Lifeline radio and Lifeline Energy (well, Freeplay Foundation, as we were known then) as the first winner of this award in 2001 and then excerpts of my acceptance speech was played.  I had no idea they were going to do this. What a huge honour it was to be formally recognized by the Tech Museum again.

This was the first time the gala was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center and was the largest attendance ever at 1,800 guests. Many attendees were legends in Silicon Valley’s tech community. Everyone had come to find out who the five winners would be and also to hear Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan.

Queen Rania of Jordan with Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter

Queen Rania, this years’ James C. Morgan Humanitarian Award honouree, spoke purposefully, passionately and eloquently about the importance of education.  She encouraged everyone to ‘dream the undreamt’ and to ‘imagine the unimaginable’.

After dinner the award winners were announced from a field of three finalists  laureates in five categories:

•    Intel Environment Award – Peer Water Exchange, a project of Blue Planet Network – Worldwide
•    BD Biosciences Economic Development Award – Alexis T. Belonio, Center for Rice Husk Energy Technology
•    Microsoft Education Award – BBC World Service Trust, BBC Janala
•    The Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award – A Single Drop for Safe Water
•    Nokia Health Award – Venkatesh Mannar, Micronutrient Initiative

In this year’s education category I was delighted that one of our partners, the BBC World Service Trust, won for their English language mobile phone programming in Bangladesh.

Kristine Pearson accepting the first Tech Museum of Innovation Award in 2001

The Tech Awards have grown over the years into the world’s premiere awards for technology benefitting humanity and it will always be our honour to have been the very first winner.  The iconic Lifeline radio – which is now retired and has been replaced by the Prime – is a featured display at the Tech Museum in Silicon Valley.

by Kristine Pearson in Santa Clara

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