Elton John Named Harvard Humanitarian of the Year
English singer, composer, and activist Sir Elton H. John will receive the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year award, the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations announced Tuesday morning. He will be recognized for his work as founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. John will be honored on November 6 with a ceremony in Sanders Theatre, the Harvard Crimson reports.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation is a nonprofit organization, established by the rock musician – in 1992 in the United States and 1993 in the United Kingdom – to support innovative HIV prevention, education programs, direct care and support services to people living with HIV. It has raised over $385 million to support HIV related activities worldwide.
This isn't the first time John has been lauded for his charity: Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1998, and the Rockefeller Foundation gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
"I am grateful to Harvard University and the Harvard Foundation for acknowledging my philanthropic work toward ending HIV/AIDS. It's an honor to share this recognition with such illustrious past recipients," John wrote in a press release. He joins a dazzling collection of previous Humanitarian Award recipients including Malala Yousafzai, Hans Rosling, and, most recently, Rihanna.
In early October 2017 The Elton John AIDS Foundation announced bold new funding initiatives to combat HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
"The HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, particularly in Russia and Ukraine, remains the fastest growing in the world," said Anne Aslett, Executive Director of EJAF-UK. "As other donors have withdrawn from the region, EJAF remains committed to supporting people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, and sex workers throughout the region to improve their health and protect their human rights. The EECA KP Fund is the first initiative of its kind. It aims not only to save the lives of thousands of very vulnerable people but to introduce new ways of addressing and scaling up response to the region’s expanding epidemic."