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Washington DC: Diego Hidalgo Schnur, a Spanish philanthropist, academic and businessman, is the 2009 winner of the Commitment to Development “Ideas in Action” Award, sponsored jointly by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Foreign Policy magazine.
The award, bestowed annually since 2003, honors an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to changing attitudes and policies towards the developing world.
Hidalgo’s career reflects his resolute dedication to helping the world’s poorest people. He is the founder or key sponsor of numerous organizations committed to promoting development and democracy across the globe. These include: Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA), which produces the Humanitarian Response Index; the Foundation for Research and Investment for the Development of Africa (FRIDA), an NGO that promotes cooperation and development projects in the continent’s poorest countries; and the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax), a Spanish think tank.
Hidalgo also serves as president of the Fundación par alas Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, (FRIDE), a Madrid-based think tank that provides innovative ideas on Europe's role in the international arena. A former World Bank staffer, Hidalgo was the youngest person to serve as a division chief for Sub-Saharan Africa.
He is the author of Europa, Globalización y Unión Monetaria (Europe, Globalization and Monetary Union), and El Futuro de España (The Future of Spain), which remained on the Spanish best sellers list for twenty-three weeks.
“Diego Hidalgo is a generous visionary who became a social entrepreneur decades before the concept was broadly embraced,” said Moisés Naím, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy Magazine.
Added CGD president Nancy Birdsall: “Diego Hidalgo has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to evidence-based policy work on development across a wide range of topics, from humanitarian relief to foreign policy. His work is all the more impressive in the European context, where many policy organizations have government ties and independence from government influence is the exception rather than the rule.”
Birdsall and Naím co-chaired the selection committee which also included Evelyn Herfkens, executive coordinator of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Campaign; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, managing director at the World Bank and former minister of finance and foreign affairs in Nigeria; Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post columnist and director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Kevin Watkins, director of UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report.
Previous winners of the Commitment to Development Award include: the European ministers of international development who constitute the Utstein Group (2003); Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair Campaign (2004); then-Chancellor of the Exchequer and now Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown (2005), then-U.S. Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) (2006), Global Witness (2007), and the ONE Campaign (2008).
Hidalgo will accept the award on February 5 at a public event in Washington D.C.