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Future of Life Award

Celebrating those who fought for the future.

The Future of Life Award honours individuals who, without having received much recognition at the time of their achievements, helped make today dramatically better than it might otherwise have been.

FLI presents each award winner with a $50,000 prize, generously funded by Skype-cofounder Jaan Tallinn.

Future of Life Awards

Here are all of the Future of Life Awards that have been awarded in the past:

Future Of Life Award 2023

With the 2023 Future of Life Award, we celebrate two films – both released amidst the cold war – that were profoundly impactful in reducing the threat of nuclear war, and the five storytellers behind them.
Nicholas Meyer, Edward Hume, Brandon Stoddard, Walter F. Parkes, and Lawrence Lasker
For reducing the risk of nuclear war through the power of storytelling

Future Of Life Award 2022

We presented the 2022 Future of Life Award to eight individuals for their roles in discovering and popularising nuclear winter. The award ceremony took place against the backdrop of a review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Jeannie Peterson, Paul Crutzen, John Birks, Richard Turco, Brian Toon, Carl Sagan, Georgiy Stenchikov, and Alan Robock
Reducing the risk of nuclear war by developing and popularizing the science of nuclear winter

Future Of Life Award 2021

The 2021 Future of Life Award goes to three remarkable individuals for their critical contributions to the most successful international environmental treaty to date – the Montreal Protocol. Their work helped to avert a climate catastrophe that could have ended agriculture worldwide.
Joseph Farman, Susan Solomon, Stephen Andersen
Protecting the ozone layer

Future Of Life Award 2020

In 1979, smallpox was eradicated. As a result, millions of lives were protected from this preventable disease. The 2020 Future of Life Award celebrates two of the heroes who made it happen.
Viktor Zhdanov and William Foege
Contributing to the eradication of the smallpox virus

Future Of Life Award 2019

The Biological Weapons Convention is an international ban that has prevented one of the most inhumane forms of warfare known to humanity. On the eve of the Convention’s 47th anniversary, we presented the 2019 Future of Life Award to one of it's forefathers.
Matthew Meselson
Campaigning for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention

Future Of Life Award 2018

The 2018 Future of Life Award celebrates a relatively unknown individual whose courageous judgement may have prevented a nuclear strike during the Cold War that could easily have escalated into a full-scale nuclear conflict.
Stanislav Petrov
Averting nuclear war by overriding Soviet early-warning detection system

Future Of Life Award 2017

In 1962, a soft-spoken naval officer, made a brave decision in the face of danger that prevented a nuclear strike. We presented his family with the inaugural 2017 Future of Life Award to honor the late hero.
Vasili Arkhipov
Averting nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Make a Nomination

Help us find our next unsung hero...

If you want to nominate someone for the Future of Life Award, please use the link below to access the registration page. Once registered, you will be able to submit your nomination with supporting links and documentation.

If we decide to give the award to your nominee, you will receive a $3,000 prize from FLI for your contribution.

Make a nomination


Why celebrate unknown heroes?

Hear from our team on the reasons they believe the Future of Life Award is so important:
“Through the Future of Life Award we give gratitude and celebrate our heroes - people who have made a big difference for the better. Giving thanks is an essential part of working towards a positive future of life.”
Meia Chita-Tegmark
“The Future of Life Award is a great step in appreciating those who have quietly and effectively nudged the world away from the precipice.”
Anthony Aguirre
“The Future of Life Award brings our attention to the stories that matter most - people doing extraordinary things for the betterment of humanity. Working on the Future of Life award is a rare chance to contribute to the recognition of an unsung hero."
David Nicholson
“The Future of Life Award taps into an important, but often forgotten or overlooked source of hope in the world: behind the scenes and often with minimal or no recognition, dedicated and amazing heroes are striving to ensure that humanity doesn’t just survive, but that it thrives.”
Ariel Conn
"We often feel powerless to change the things we see wrong in the world, a feeling only fuelled by our failure to highlight the stories of individuals who quietly, unceremoniously, transformed the world for the better. The Future of Life Award tells those stories, and through the examples of the recipients, inspires us that a single individual can change the course of human history for the better."
Emilia Javorsky
"The Future of Life Award is incredible because it helps share the untold stories of individuals that are real-life heroes, while simultaneously bringing forth discussion around our future as a species."
Anna Yelizarova
"Especially in a time when it is so easy to feel helpless about the complex problems of the world, the Future of Life Award reinforces that individual efforts to benefit broader society can and do matter - and in the case of the heroes honored by this award and countless unnamed others, can literally improve the future of life as we know it."
Jared Brown
"It's important to remind people that there are such things as saving the world, making the world a better place, and creating lasting meaning, and that doing those often comes from doing the right thing when you're in the right job."
Richard Mallah
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