AES Corporation Presents
The Indianapolis Prize Gala 2006
was more than five years in the planning, but when the audience of nearly
one thousand guests rose in unison and delivered a thunderous standing
ovation to the first recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, all the effort
seemed so very worthwhile. That moment was the culmination of a process that
involved some of the most talented, most influential and most accomplished
conservationists from around the world as nominees for the Prize, members of
the Prize Committee or part of its Nominating Committee or Jury. The
goal was to tell the stories of hard working conservationists and to honor
them as the heroes they are, but so rarely see themselves as.
From left to right: Former Indianapolis Zoo Board of Trustees Chair
Pawel Fludzinski, Indianapolis Prize Chair Myrta Pulliam, George Archibald
holding the Lilly Medal, Indianapolis Zoo President and CEO Mike Crowther,
and 2006 Emcee Jane Alexander.
Thanks to the commitment and dedication to the cause of the
Eli Lilly and
Company Foundation, which provided the impetus and the funds in the
beginning, it all came together beautifully.
over 50 nominees, six were chosen as finalists, and the Jury selected the
recipient from among those half dozen truly stellar members of the
conservation community. On August 22, 2006, the winner – Dr. George
Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation – traveled to
the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to be acknowledged formally as
the Prize recipient and to begin a long campaign using the Prize as the
keynote in promoting worldwide conservation of wildlife and wild places.
Everywhere he went, Archibald spoke with understanding, passion and grace
about the endangered cranes to which he has devoted the last 40 years of his
Saturday, September 30, the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by the AES
Corporation was staged in the massive Marriott Hotel Ballroom in downtown
Indianapolis. Jane Alexander, resplendent in a white gown and looking
every inch the notable person she is, presided over a wonderful program
filled with the stunningly beautiful videos featuring the finalists, the
music of Cathy Morris and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and a welcome
from then Mayor Bart Peterson – all building toward that crescendo moment
when Dr. Archibald stood before the audience. In his hands he held the
Lilly Medal, cast in bronze and encased inside a sculpted box of Indiana
In his remarks, Archibald discussed his beloved cranes and the need for the
developed world, where crane species are recovering, to aid the developing
world, where cranes are not only endangered, but rapidly disappearing
completely from the landscape. In true conservationist mode, Dr.
Archibald put all of the $100,000 back into projects to save cranes in
India, Russia and Asia. He then called on stage with them the other
three finalists present – Dr. Holly Dublin, Dr. Simon Stuart, and Dr. Iain
Douglas-Hamilton – heroes all.
2010 Indianapolis Prize Gala