Introduced in 2009, the Reinhard Mohn Prize is the successor to the Carl Bertelsmann Prize, which was established in 1988. Prizewinners and the jury’s rationale for each award are provided below, from 1988 to the present.
Better quality of life, opportunities for development, and local participation through digitalization – an important challenge of the 21st century. Intelligent technology and networks should foster social inclusion, while ensuring living conditions in rural regions equivalent to those in cities. This means public services must be universally maintained and quality of life ensured. Moreover, the economic competitiveness and ability to create value must be further developed throughout the country.
Prizewinner: Toomas Hendrik Ilves
As a politician who recognized digitalization’s opportunities for societal transformation at an early date, and was also able to realize this potential as Estonian president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves is awarded the Reinhard Mohn Prize. The Bertelsmann Stiftung honors him as a thought leader and pioneer of digitalization in governance, administration and education. Particularly during his 10-year presidency (2006 – 2016), Toomas Hendrik Ilves made digital transformation in Estonia a key objective, and pursued this goal both consistently and judiciously. Today, Estonia is regarded worldwide as a model digital nation.
Discover more on The Reinhard Mohn Prize 2017 – The award year in review.
Topic: Responsible Entrepreneurship
Successful businesses make an integral contribution to society - and not only by creating jobs. They pay taxes, train young people and actively contribute to the common good. At the same time, companies need reliable infrastructures, effective education systems and social and political stability if they are to be successful over the long term. Yet people's needs can also drive entrepreneurial innovation. If companies are to contribute to society in the best possible manner, we need to approach corporate social responsibility differently.
Prizewinner: Klaus Schwab
This year's award honors Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum in Geneva, as a champion of responsible entrepreneurship. Klaus Schwab was one of the first international leaders to recognize the corporate world's unique economic and social responsibility to society in an increasingly globalized world. The Bertelsmann Stiftung honors the economics professor for his efforts in building bridges between governments, the business community and civil society, thereby transcending institutional borders. Throughout his work, he has persisted in promoting dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. With the Wold Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab has created a platform for all stakeholders to convene and tackle the challenges we face today. Through this platform, Klaus Schwab has successfully placed issues such as globalization and digitization on the global agenda.
See for yourself: Our videos on the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2016 provide a wide range of impressions.
Topic: Fostering Just Migration Governance
Skilled foreign labor is in high demand in Germany. Given the effects of demographic change, this demand is expected to grow. Indeed, without immigration, Germany's potential labor force will decline by 40 percent by the year 2050. In addition, global competition for talent will intensify as countries that have traditionally served as source countries of migration will themselves begin requiring an influx of skilled labor. How can we create a triple-win situation in which destination countries can recruit the skilled labor they need without negatively affecting the development trajectories of source countries?
Prizewinner: Rita Süssmuth
The recipient of the 2015 Reinhard Mohn Prize, former Bundestag President Rita Süssmuth, is honored for her pioneering efforts in creating a modern migration and integration policy for Germany. The Bertelsmann Stiftung acknowledges as well her initiative in supporting migrants and their countries of origin. From 2003 to 2005, she worked as a part of the Global Commission on International Migration created by then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2013.
See for yourself: Our videos on the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2015 provide a wide range of impressions.
Global economic and financial crises, demographic imbalances and depleting natural resources: these are the challenges we must overcome in order to ensure future generations’ life and well-being on Earth. If societies everywhere are to ensure a viable future, policymakers must act on and enforce principles of sustainability. But how can we ensure that policymaking is driven by the goal of sustainable and equitable development across generations?
Prizewinner: Kofi Annan
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is this year’s recipient of the Reinhard Mohn Prize. With the award, the Bertelsmann Stiftung honors Annan for his exemplary efforts to promote sustainable development around the world. Thanks to his efforts, several forward-looking initiatives in politics, business and civil society targeting sustainable development and intergenerational justice are now in place at global, national and local levels. He continues to demonstrate personal commitment to sustainable development issues through his activities with the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
See for yourself: Our videos on the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2013 provide a wide range of impressions.
Topic: Civic participation
As the pillar of modern society, democracy is the basis for peaceful and self-determined communities in which the needs of all members are acknowledged and targeted. Strengthening our capacity to meet these needs is one of our most important tasks as a society. With this year's prize focusing on "Vitalizing Democracy through Participation," the Bertelsmann Stiftung seeks to identify best practices in projects targeting civic participation in order to close the gap between government and citizens. A strong framework for civic participation strengthens representative democracy and promotes consensus between a state and its citizens.
Prizewinner: Recife (Brazil)
The city of Recife (1.7 million inhabitants) in Brazil is the recipient of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011. For more than ten years, the citizens of Recife have been actively engaged in decisions affecting the future of their city. Through meetings and the Internet, citizens submit their suggestions and determine priorities to be addressed in 15 policy areas. Some 2,700 elected delegates oversee the implementation of such input. In this way, the city creates a community of shared responsibility with its residents. Since having introduced a participatory budget process in 2001, Recife's citizens have initiated some 5,000 measures and influenced the allocation of investments exceeding €220 million.
See for yourself: Our videos on the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 provide a wide range of impressions.
Topic: Integration through Education
In Germany, educational attainment for children and youth of immigrant families is lower than that of native-born children and youth of equal intelligence and skill levels. Similarly, children with a migrant background have fewer opportunities for vocational education and training than do their native-born cohorts of the same aptitude. How can we ensure fair access to education for children with a migrant background and facilitate their integration into society? The Bertelsmann Stiftung has sought to identify good practices in education promoting individualized support for children of migrant origin.
Prizewinner: Toronto District School Board
The Toronto District School Board is awarded the prize in recognition of its exemplary commitment to promoting integration and access to education. The Board, which is responsible for more than 550 schools in Canada's largest city, has successfully advanced the goal of integrating children and youth of migrant origin with programs driven by a vision of equal opportunity and social inclusion.Student-oriented in-class support and comprehensive language support are standard for each school. The diversity of the student body is reflected in school curricula, teaching methods and staff. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that district schools work closely with their local communities, migrant associations and parents to ensure integration goals are met.
See for yourself: Our videos on the Carl Bertelsmann Prize 2008 provide a wide range of impressions.
Topic: Social and Civic Engagement
Young people are more likely to get involved with their communities when they have themselves experienced social and civic engagement in their everyday lives. Experience with inspiring role models in their immediate environments is a key driver in motivating today's youth to make a contribution. The Bertelsmann Stiftung seeks to identify and acknowledge such role models, in particular those who embed civic engagement within education goals. Indeed, the idea of creating role models by means of role models promotes an ongoing revitalization of social and civic engagement - and thus also of our democracy and democratic values.
Prizewinner: Citizenship Foundation, Great Britain
The British Citizenship Foundation is awarded the Carl Bertelsmann Prize 2007 in acknowledgment of its exemplary programs designed to ensure that civic engagement be prioritized as a key educational goal. The foundation's defining objective has always been to get children and young adults actively involved in society, and over the past 20 years it has become a major pioneer of political education in Great Britain. The jury singled out the foundation's target-group-oriented programs as being especially worthy of praise.
Special Prize for a Baden-Württemberg Secondary School Project
A Special Prize of €50,000 goes to the Baden-Württemberg Education Plan known as TOP SE (Theme-Oriented Project for Social Engagement). This plan was specifically designed for "Realschule" secondary schools in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and explicitly declares social and civic engagement as a key objective of education. Within the framework of this education plan, 480 Realschule secondary schools signed up to work with non-profit organizations. Pupils in seventh and eighth grades from these schools are active in nursing homes and environmental initiatives or work as first-aid assistants and mentors.
See for yourself: Our videos on the Carl Bertelsmann Prize 2007 provide a wide range of impressions.
Topic: Older Workers
The working world in modern industrialized countries is undergoing a profound process of change. As a country with limited natural resources, Germany in particular needs to encourage and tap into the employment potential of every individual. Many experts are concerned that this potential is underutilized. Indeed, while young workers are being inadequately integrated into spheres of work and education, older workers are being prematurely "deactivated." The Bertelsmann Stiftung is looking for ways to overcome dramatically low employment levels among older workers in Germany.
Prizewinner: Finland, "Aging Workforce" Reform Program
This year's Carl Bertelsmann Prize goes to Finland. The recipient is the "Aging Workforce" reform program, an initiative launched by the Finnish government in cooperation with social partners, the science community and various associations designed to improve working conditions for older employees. The goal of the Finnish reform measures is to keep employees in the workforce longer. The basis for the program's success is the age-appropriate design of work and employment conditions, the focus on training measures and an ideal organization of work. The country-wide program was implemented in joint cooperation with the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor.
See for yourself: Our videos on the Carl Bertelsmann Prize 2006 provide a wide range of impressions.
Topic: Youth Unemployment
The integration of young people into the labor market is high on the agenda of almost all social and political institutions. Even though Germany boasts a low rate of youth unemployment in international comparison, the question remains as to whether young people are being properly prepared to face the changing demands that will no doubt be placed on them by the working and living environments of the future. Responsibility for employability does not lie solely with young people themselves nor with public or publicly funded institutions of education; instead, responsibility must also be assumed by companies and future employers in particular. In awarding this year's prize, the Bertelsmann Stiftung seeks to provide new momentum to the debate surrounding education and education policy.
Prizewinner: Hamburg's "Hauptschulmodell" - Secondary School Model
The "Hauptschulmodell" is a secondary school model launched by the city-state of Hamburg in 2000 on the initiative of Dr. Michael Otto, Board Chairman of the Otto Group, and Bernd Wrede, former CEO of Hapag Lloyd AG. The model is based on the coordinated consultation and supervision of Hauptschule graduates by teachers, guidance counselors and human-resource professionals drawn from private companies. They work in close cooperation to determine pupils' interests and strengths and provide advice and support on choosing a career and finding appropriate vocational training opportunities. Within a space of only five years, the model succeeded in doubling the number of Hauptschule pupils who gained access to non-subsidized vocational training in Hamburg to over 20 percent. The model's organizational center is the Hamburg "Education Coordination Office," which serves as a guide for pupils and companies.
Topic: Modern Public Administration
While market economies generate sufficient impetus for a focus on performance and progress within private industry, within the public sector, this input is either weak or non-existent. And while many administrative bodies are ready and willing to enact reforms and have already successfully introduced modern management techniques, greater action must be taken in administrative culture and in the promotion of administrative value systems. Only by means of competition can progress be made in the public sector. Committed leaders working within a culture of partnership and collaboration help ensure successful models of administrative organization.
Prizewinner: Århus County (Denmark)
Århus County is responsible for supplying mostly municipal services to 640,000 inhabitants. These include services in the areas of health, education and training, social affairs, culture, business development and tourism. Roughly 21,000 employees are committed to a value system based on transparency, respect and a willingness to reform. The key management element is performance comparison, both within the administrative units and with regard to other counties. "For the employees of Århus County, dialogue, openness and respect are equally as self-evident as the willingness to continuously develop further. The count's efficiency and impressive commitment to its work are very convincing."
Topic: Corporate Culture
Leadership in business and society is becoming increasingly challenging and complex. Among the causes of this development are advancing globalization, demographic transformation, changing value awareness and the effects of new technologies and work processes on individuals. Corporate culture and leadership are increasingly important to ensuring entrepreneurial success. Cooperation among management, employees and employee organizations fosters a stronger identification among all stakeholders with a company's goals and tasks; it also increases motivation, the willingness to work and that special creativity we urgently need to face the challenges of the future.
Prizewinner: Hilti Corporation
The Hilti Corporation is a world leader in the development, manufacturing and distribution of high-quality products and systems for professionals in the field of construction and building maintenance. All employees, even the members of the management board and supervisory board, participate in ongoing training in corporate culture. The essential instruments of this successful corporate culture are employee surveys and regular executive reviews. Hilti motivates its employees to take on responsibility and relies heavily on an open culture of trust that consciously accepts any associated risks. Another area in which Hilti plays an exemplary role is its clearly defined Corporate Governance Model, which identifies areas of expertise, avoids dual mandates and determines qualification requirements for management. Hilti also carries out a variety of activities in sociopolitically relevant areas. The Hilti Foundation is an expression of the social and cultural commitment of the family that owns and operates it.
How can we ensure that modern societies remain open to reform? In the future, business and civil society, together with governments, must take on more responsibility in addressing urgent issues in society. Transparency and openness underpin the success of any such efforts. How can we render decision-making and participatory processes more transparent?
Prizewinner: Transparency International
Transparency International (TI) is either active or has on-the-ground contacts in 122 countries worldwide. This year's prizewinner is a role model for organizations aiming to cultivate trustworthy cooperation among diverse stakeholders. With its international secretariat in Berlin and 87 national chapters across the globe, TI fights both national and international corruption while targeting the conditions facilitating corruption. With its global activities, TI seeks to raise public awareness of the devastating effects of corruption. It also advocates for the implementation of multilateral anti-corruption agreements into national legislation and monitors compliance among governments, businesses and banks.
Transitioning from an authoritarian regime with a centrally planned economic order to a market-based democracy is one of the most significant and challenging processes faced by many countries in recent decades. Which countries have managed this transformation particularly well and can serve as a model for other countries facing similar challenges? In examining the political and economic achievements made by several such countries, this year's prize takes into account contextual differences relating to the level of difficulty and development status of each country.
Prizewinners: Poland and Bolivia
This year's prize is awarded to Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Leszek Balcerowicz and Adam Michnik as representatives of Poland's successful transformation process and René Blattmann and Ana Maria Romero de Campero as representatives of Bolivia's exceptional development efforts.
Prizewinners: Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, EDI (Eidgenössische Departement des Innern, EDI) and Dutch General Practitioners Society (nederlands huisartsen genootschap, nhg)
Just as its predecessors, the Carl Bertelsmann Prize 2000 relies on exhaustive international research. It focuses primarily on two different aspects: First, our research takes a content-driven look at best-practice approaches to individual problems in different countries. In a second step, our research evaluates a country's ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to problems relating to health care policy.
Here, our focus lies on the effective guidance and management of health care systems. Our research draws on extensive country studies that build upon a number of sources, including comparative international statistics, the expertise of health professionals and reports issued by selected country experts and specialist institutions.
Prizewinner: Kingdom of Denmark
The Danish government's reduced regulatory role in vocational education and training in Denmark represents a groundbreaking development. Today, the Danish Ministry of Education limits itself to defining goals and establishing frameworks. When doing so, it is obliged to take into account suggestions from the "Council for Vocational Education and Training," a national committee made up of various social partners. As long as representatives of both employers and employees solve problems together - and indeed they work together on all levels in committees comprised of an equal number of representatives from both groups - the state intervenes as little as possible in vocational education and training.
Prizewinners: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada and Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC), USA
In recognition of their successful approaches to state supervision and self-regulation in the media industry, the 1998 Carl Bertelsmann Prize is awarded to the United States' RSAC, a self-monitoring initiative for the Internet, and Canada's CRTC, a broadcasting and telecommunications supervisory authority.
The RSACi is a self-classification system created and operated by the RSAC that gives Internet providers the ability to classify their sites online within certain categories, such as sex and violence. The sites are then designated with a classification readable in all popular Internet browsers, thereby allowing adults to make informed decisions in blocking their children's access to unsuitable content.
The work of the CRTC is groundbreaking primarily because it removes the traditional boundaries between telecommunications and media supervision while fostering self-regulation by the very industries it regulates.
Prizewinner: "Stichting van de Arbeid" Labour Foundation, Netherlands
The "Stichting van de Arbeid" Labour Foundation is comprised and managed jointly by the various bodies involved in collective bargaining in the Netherlands. This consultative association contributed significantly to the restructuring of the Dutch welfare state, which made it possible for what is now globally recognized as the Netherland's "employment miracle." The social partners involved in the foundation have created a powerful joint institution that uses trust-driven dialogue to pursue new and important paths in the realm of social and collective bargaining policy. The Stichting van de Arbeid also serves as an important actor in guaranteeing close policy coordination and strategy development between government and bargaining partners.
Prizewinner: Durham Board of Education, Ontario, Canada
The Durham Board of Education in the province of Ontario, Canada is an unconventional and highly effective school board that has created forward-looking services for the schools in its district. The system is set up in such a way that the province of Ontario provides only framing directives and delegates all school-related functions to individual "boards" for each school. These innovative boards then take on responsibility for all administrative and financial tasks: for example, they hire the entire staff, develop curricula in line with regional economic requirements and foster cooperation between parents and teachers. The Durham Board of Education is also subject to regular benchmark comparisons to other school boards operating in the province of Ontario.
Demonstrating consistency in economic and employment policy coordination, Portugal has achieved sustainable, long-term success in its battle against unemployment. It has also demonstrated the capacity to adjust to changing conditions. Portugal's remarkable success in employment policy is closely linked with the work of Portuguese Prime Minister Cavaco Silva, whose ten-year tenure was marked by his capacity to demonstrate political courage and social commitment as he steered the country through an economic crisis. The Portuguese Prime Minister can be credited with developing a broad-based performance- and growth-driven strategy commensurate with the regulatory principles proposed by Ludwig Erhard.
Prizewinners: Channel 4, Great Britain, and TVW7 Perth, Australia
Great Britain's Channel 4 is notable for its ambitious programming mandate that features a commitment to program diversity that addresses the broad spectrum of viewer interests and fosters innovative development in programming content and form. Indeed, this ad-financed, non-profit broadcaster has carried out its mandate in an exemplary manner. Today, its programs enjoy global standing as role models for responsible, high-quality television in almost all TV genres.
Since being founded in 1959, the Perth-based Western Australian broadcaster TVW7's programming has been guided by the objective of social responsibility. This self-proclaimed "family channel" cultivates contact with its audience via many of its own productions in the field of entertainment and a comprehensive variety of documentaries and discussion roundtables. TVW7 also provides airtime and technical equipment to charities, supports schools in the production of educational materials, manages a job board in the fight against unemployment and conducts campaigns that promote road safety.
Prizewinners: Christchurch, New Zealand and Phoenix, USA
Christchurch, New Zealand is a model example of how a municipality can commit to and carry out government-supported administrative reform. At the end of the 1980s, a radical restructuring of municipal government in New Zealand improved the quality of municipal services and strengthened citizens' satisfaction with local government. Municipal service providers were able to compete with private companies.
Municipalities in Germany usually have little support from the government when pursuing reform. Phoenix, Arizona found itself in a similar situation and was obliged to set out on a "lone-warrior" path to reform. Today, the city is noticeable first and foremost for its robust public goods. The key to its success is the direct participation of citizens who are involved in shaping their neighborhoods and tackling social problems, such as unemployment and poverty. Phoenix is another city where municipal government was able to hold its own in competition with private providers.
Prizewinner: Kingdom of Sweden
In the mid-1970s, the government of Sweden acknowledged early on the need to respond to challenges inherent to the influx of different cultures. It developed experience-based legislation that was sanctioned by all parties and allowed for the consistent integration of foreign residents. Sweden recognized - earlier than other European states - that the majority of foreign citizens entering the country were not going to leave and that Sweden had de facto become a country of immigration. Providing foreign citizens equal access to the Swedish social system and full membership in the community are pillars of Sweden's integration policy. Preventing the development of ghettos while promoting support for foreigner's associations and guaranteeing the right to individual self-determination and cultural self-definition are key objectives of the policy.
Prizewinners: Switzerland and Hoch-, Tief- und Montagebau GmbH (HTM) Plauen, a company based in Saxony, Germany
Switzerland's regulatory framework has contributed to the country's extremely low rate of unemployment. Average growth rates combined with high monetary stability, in addition to a high level of decentralized decision-making with regard to economic policy and collective bargaining have helped the country achieve low unemployment levels. Indeed, Switzerland features an outstanding relationship between labor unions and employers.
The Saxony-based construction company HTM Plauen is an example of how organizations in the former East German states can undergo economic restructuring in keeping with both market and social partnership principles and thereby contribute to the stabilization of the labor market. On their own initiative, the company was able to prevent a majority of employees being laid off. In negotiations with the Treuhandanstalt - the agency commissioned to privatize East German enterprises after the fall of the Berlin Wall - the company drew up a compelling employment model for banks to invest in the future of the company.
Prizewinners: The University of Warwick and two Norwegian university representatives
In spite of rigorous austerity measures in the 1980s, the University of Warwick in Coventry managed to grow into a fully developed university with global standing. With the help of non-state financing, it expanded its areas of research and established new programs. The university was able to reduce its dependence on state financing from 54 percent (1980) to 40 percent (1989). It also generated 33 percent of its income from entrepreneurial activities, 16 percent from research contracts and 11 percent from student fees. This financing structure - in connection with internal distribution mechanisms - generated a culture of self-initiative in all faculties and an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit at the university.
The University of Bergen has a reputation as one of Europe's first-rate, progressive and cosmopolitan universities. Arnfinn Graue and the chancellor, Megne Lerheim, used their organizational creativity and cooperative management style to engender a restructuring of the university that precipitated an impressive growth process. They also reformed the administrative apparatus and opened up the university to regional and national industry, among other things.
Prizewinners: Volvo and Herman Miller Inc.
Inclusive participation is a decisive feature of the corporate governance pursued by Herman Miller Inc., the second largest manufacturer of office furniture in the United States. All employees - each according to their particular field of expertise and responsibility - are involved in all decision-making processes that affect their particular area. Participatory investment is also a key element of the company's corporate culture: 98 percent of full-time employees are shareholders in the company.
The corporate philosophy at Volvo, the largest company in Sweden, reflects a unique combination of productivity, decent working conditions and a cooperative leadership style. The company has demonstrated innovation in adapting its production processes to changing markets and technology. Employees at Volvo are directly involved in issues addressing work preparation, work processes and work oversight.
Prizewinner: The collective bargaining bodies involved in the areas of construction, chemicals and metal
By awarding the prize to the construction sector, the jury acknowledges achievements in the areas of social and political distribution which have become tangible especially in employee social funds and wealth formation. The award also acknowledges decisive breakthroughs made by the chemical sector in eliminating outmoded means of stratification between laborers and salaried employees. In the metals sector, the jury highlighted innovations in collective bargaining and effective measures implemented for more humane working conditions.
The jury sought to recognize not only the creativity involved with advancing Germany's collective bargaining system, but to identify the contributions made by labor policy in the context of wage autonomy to society and the German economy.