The Award is presented to individuals who have displayed outstanding vision, leadership, and courage in the worldwide struggle against AIDS.
Sir Elton John received HAI’s Leadership Award in 2013. Since the creation of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) in 1992, John has spoken out against stigma and advocated for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, especially those on the margins of society. EJAF has raised over $300 million to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS.
In 2009, Maurice Tempelsman received the HAI Leadership Award. Mr. Tempelsman serves as Chairman of HAI’s International Advisory Council. He has been instrumental in helping HAI establish research collaborations in Africa. Those programs train students and researchers and help build capacity in developing countries.
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria received the Leadership Award in 2003 at at a special ceremony in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. While president, he demonstrated exceptional political commitment by setting up the Presidential Action Committee on AIDS, which he chaired. In addition, he established a multi-sectoral National Action Committee on AIDS to lead a broad-based expanded response to HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.
Festus Gonteganye Mogae
President Festus Moage of Botswana recevied the HAI Leadership Award in 2001. Since being elected to office in 1998, President Moage has received acclaim for his bold actions in confronting the AIDS epidemic in Botswana. He instituted a national program to make antiretroviral (ARV) drugs free to every Botswana citizen who needed them. While other African nations denied that AIDS was a problem, Mogae publicly took an AIDS test to encourage his fellow citizens to do the same. He has been a visionary leader for Africa and the rest of the world.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke recevied the award in 2000. Mr. Holbrooke initiated the first ever UN session to address AIDS, not only as a health crisis, but also as a security threat affecting every person around the world. His commitment lead to a broader level of support for research, and inspiring increased compassion for people living with HIV.
Deeda Blair received the HAI Leadership Award in 1999. Since the early 1980s, she has worked tirelessly with scientists to seek government and philanthropic support for research. She is a powerful advocate for increased funding for HIV/AIDS. Through her fundraising efforts, young scientists have been trained and needed equipment has been purchased and put to use. She believes that research is a productive, humane investment.
Receving the award in 1999, Marguerite Littman is a uniquely sensitive leader who exudes compassion while committing her boundless energy and influence in a precise, laser-like fashion. In the mid-1980s, she saw the urgent need for action on the emerging epidemic and established the AIDS Crisis Trust in London. While building hospital wings in London, she also found a way for the AIDS Crisis Trust to support AIDS organizations in the U.S., South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Thailand, and India.
Judith Peabody received the award in 1999 for her committed volunteer service to people living with AIDS and organizations that work on their behalf, particularly the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. She worked for improving AIDS services and promoting AIDS research. She was a co-leader of Care-Partners Groups.
Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales, Received the award posthumously in 1997. She was among the first to fight the conspiracy of silence and prejudice against AIDS. Her efforts to de-stigmatize those living with AIDS were praised by some of the world’s leading moral authorities, including former South African President Nelson Mandela and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. She ardently raised public awareness to fight the discrimination and exclusion that so many people living with AIDS endure.
Bill Blass received the HAI Leadership Award in 1996 for his generous and influential support of AIDS treatment services. From the beginning, he dedicated both time and talent to fighting the epidemic. The depth of his commitment awakened others to the urgency of the AIDS epidemic, leading to a broader level of support for research, and inspiring increased compassion for people living with HIV.
Richard GereRichard Gere
Richard Gere received the award in 1995 for his campaigning against the spread of AIDS in South Asia. He has been honored many times for his tireless dedication to ending HIV/AIDS. Richard Gere’s Foundation awards grants to humanitarian organizations supporting victims of war and natural disasters, providing HIV/AIDS care and research and addressing human rights violations occurring around the world.
Mary Fisher received the award in 1995. In her groundbreaking speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, she stunned millions around the world when she announced she was HIV-positive. Her leadership has inspired men and women living with HIV throughout the world. She is the founder of the Family AIDS Network, an organization dedicated to increasing compassion, resources and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Elisabeth Glaser, co-founder of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, received the award in 1994. Her leadership inspired awareness and hope for HlV-infected children and their families throughout the world. Her foundation seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infections and to eradicate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs. She died from complications from AIDS on December 3, 1994.
Cleve Jones, founder of the the NAMES Progect AIDS Memorial Quilt, received the award in 1993. That year, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was a poignant memorial with more than 44,000 colorful panels; each dedicated to the life of a person lost to AIDS. His simple idea to remember friends has turned into an international symbol of triumph over grief and love over prejudice. Cleve Jones provided all of us with a loving remembrance of those who have died and a powerful expression of both the intimacy and universality of AIDS.
As the first award recipient in 1992, Arthur Ashe’s acceptance of the award was an honor to the recipients who followed. He was a rare kind of hero, a role model for adults who used public prominence for the greater good. His personal dignity inspired people around the world and his actions enhanced public awareness of AIDS. He wanted future doctors and nurses to “know me as a person” first. Arthur Ashe died from complications from AIDS on February 6, 1993.