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Right Livelihood Conference

May 15, 2018 - May 17, 2018  |  UC Santa Cruz




‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ Laureates at UCSC

In May 2018, a group of Right Livelihood change-makers based in Canada and the US will convene at the University of California, Santa Cruz to discuss challenges and opportunities for advancing social and environmental justice.  In these tumultuous times, this meeting will deepen and ground our local efforts toward a more sustainable, equitable, and peaceful world.

Public Program Dates: May 15 – 17, 2018
Place: University of California, Santa Cruz, USA


The Right Livelihood Award

The Right Livelihood Award—widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’—was established in 1980 to honor and support courageous people and organizations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems. In addition to presenting the annual award, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation also supports the work of its Laureates, particularly those whose lives may be in danger due to the nature of their activities.


The Right Livelihood College

Common Ground Center at UC Santa Cruz’s Kresge College is the one and only Right Livelihood College in North America, and we are honored to host the first North American Regional Conference featuring many Laureates from the USA and Canada. By linking activists and academics, the Right Livelihood College highlights UC Santa Cruz’s trailblazing leadership in service of people and the planet, and makes vital contributions to the intellectual life of the campus and community.


Laureates attending

The following Laureates have confirmed their attendance:

  • Robert Bilott (USA, 2017)
    • “…for exposing a decades-long history of chemical pollution, winning long-sought justice for the victims, and setting a precedent for effective regulation of hazardous substances.”
  • Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Canada, 2015)
    • “…for her lifelong work to protect the Inuit of the Arctic and defend their right to maintain their livelihoods and culture, which are acutely threatened by climate change.”
  • Bill McKibben / (USA, 2014)
    • “…for mobilising growing popular support in the USA and around the world for strong action to counter the threat of global climate change.”
  • Paul Walker (USA, 2013)
    • “…for working tirelessly to rid the world of chemical weapons.”
  • Jamila Raqib on behalf of Gene Sharp (USA, 2012)
    • “…for developing and articulating the core principles and strategies of nonviolent resistance and supporting their practical implementation in conflict areas around the world.”
  • Yannick Beaudoin (David Suzuki Foundation), on behalf of David Suzuki (Canada, 2009)
    • “…for his lifetime advocacy of the socially responsible use of science, and for his massive contribution to raising awareness about the perils of climate change and building public support for policies to address it”.
  • Amy Goodman (USA, 2008)
    • “…for developing an innovative model of truly independent political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by mainstream media.”
  • Daniel Ellsberg (USA, 2006)
    • “…for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example.”
  • Maude Barlow (Canada, 2005)
    • “… for their exemplary and longstanding worldwide work for trade justice and the recognition of the fundamental human right to water.”
  • Tony Clarke (Canada, 2005)
    • “… for their exemplary and longstanding worldwide work for trade justice and the recognition of the fundamental human right to water.”
  • Wes Jackson / The Land Institute (USA, 2000)
    • “…for his single-minded commitment to developing an agriculture that is both highly productive and truly ecologically sustainable.”
  • Alice Tepper Marlin (USA, 1990)
    • “…for showing the direction in which the Western economy must develop to promote the well-being of humanity.”
  • Frances Moore Lappé (Small Planet Institute) (USA, 1987)
    • “…for revealing the political and economic causes of world hunger and how citizens can help to remedy them.”
  • Amory Lovins (USA, 1983)
    • “…for pioneering soft energy paths for global security.”
  • Pat Mooney (Canada, 1985)
    • “…for working to save the world’s genetic plant heritage.”
  • Lisa Wartinger, Bruce Curtis and/or Peter Schweizer of Plenty International (USA, 1980)
    • “…for caring, sharing and acting with and on behalf of those in need at home and abroad.”


Partner Organisations

A number of groups at UC Santa Cruz are collaborating to co-host this event, including:UCSC Foundation
Common Ground Center
Kresge College
Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance
Everett Program for Technology & Social Change
Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Division of Social Sciences
The Humanities Institute
University Relations
Science and Justice Research Center
Sustainability Office
Environmental Studies Department
Heller Chair in Agroecology
Rachel Carson College & Headley Chair for Integral Ecology and Environmental JusticePlease contact us using the information below if you would like to contribute to the conference.


Conference Background

Since 2013, the Right Livelihood Award has arranged a series of regional conferences for its Laureates. It was after a call from one of our Colombian Laureates, asking for help to strengthen their regional network, that we decided to bring Laureates from Latin America and the Caribbean together for the first time. Since it was such an important and fruitful meeting, this meeting was followed by regional meetings for Laureates in Africa and the Middle East in 2014, in Asia in 2015, and, in 2016, Laureates in Europe. The meeting of North American Right Livelihood Award Laureates will be the fifth regional conference. In times when safe spaces for action are shrinking for civil society all over the world, these meetings provide an enabling environment for important actors toward a more sustainable and peaceful world. Award recipients have been able to share struggles, exchange ideas, strengthen networks of collaboration, and engage more deeply with change makers and communities local to the areas where the meetings have been held.

Add strength to change-makers by supporting this conference

Since its founding by Jakob von Uexkull, Individual donations have been the backbone of the Right Livelihood Award. Institutional donors also help to support the Award. If you would like to contribute to this meeting of courageous people and organisations in North America that have found practical solutions to the root causes of global problems, please visit the ‘Donate‘ section.

Mark your support: “Regional conf., Santa Cruz”


Contact information

Kajsa Övergaard
Senior Programme Director
Right Livelihood Award Foundation

David Shaw
Coordinator, RLC Campus Santa Cruz
Co-Director, Common Ground Center
UCSC Kresge College


May 15, 2018
May 17, 2018