Bill Gates wins Indira Gandhi Prize

July 25, 2009 7:21:12 AM PDT
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Saturday received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development from India's president, a government statement said. The prize recognizes his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is awarded annually to individuals or organizations for creative efforts that promote peace, development and a new international economic order.

As of July 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had committed nearly $1 billion for health and development projects in India. Most of the money has gone to prevent AIDS and eradicate polio.

One AIDS prevention initiative has targeted 280,000 people from high-risk categories, the statement said.

"It is a shining example of partnership between government and civil society in a critically important sector. I commend their work," said India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who attended the ceremony.

The foundation got a cash reward of 2.5 million rupees ($52,000) from the Indian government, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

The prize is in memory of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1984.

Previous winners have included Afghan President Hamid Karzai, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres.

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