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BHA: Richard Dawkins announced as 2012 recipient for ‘Services to Humanism’ award

Richard Dawkins announced as 2012 recipient for ‘Services to Humanism’ award to be presented at the BHA’s Annual Conference

Professor Richard Dawkins, Vice President and Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association, has this week been announced as the recipient of the prestigious Services to Humanism award, which will be presented at the gala dinner at the British Humanist Association Annual Conference in Cardiff on Saturday 9 June.

 The award is in recognition of his tireless campaigning on issues supported by the BHA, which includes his sponsorship of the 2008 Atheist Bus Campaign which raised over £100,000 in its first four days, the 2009 Please don't label me billboard campaign which aimed to address the labelling children as if they innately belong to a particular religion, the 2010 Protest the Pope march and rally which saw over 10,000 people take to the streets to oppose the honour of a state visit being given to the Pope, and the 2011 Teach evolution, not creationism campaign which aims to ensure the Government makes it clear that creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories and to prevent them from being taught as such in publicly-funded schools.

Best-selling author Philip Pullman CBE, whose works include the multiple award-winning trilogy His Dark Materials, was the 2011 recipient of the BHA Services to Humanism award.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘Richard Dawkins is known for his brilliant and accessible writing on science and evolution and for his consistent and courageous defence of truth, science, and scientific method against superstition and unreason. His clear and rational arguments have been the catalyst for many people embracing humanist beliefs and values, and supporting the campaigns of the BHA. Richard’s has been one of the strongest voices in public debate on issues from ‘faith’ schools and their ability to discriminate, to freedom of speech. We are delighted to have Richard as a guest at this year’s conference and to be able to recognise the important contribution he has made globally.’ 

Richard Dawkins will be attending the BHA’s annual conference, Beyond Tomorrow: Visions of the Future, in Cardiff from 8-10 June to accept the award and speak at the gala dinner. The event is open to the public. Tickets and details are available at http://bhaconference.org.uk/


Notes to editors
Time and date: 6:00pm Friday 8 June – 12:30pm Sunday 10 June
Venue: National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP
Tickets available from www.humanism.org.uk/conference2012
For further comment or press passes contact Sara Passmore on 020 7079 3586 or by email at sara@humanism.org.uk.
More information can be found at http://bhaconference.org.uk/

About the speakers:

Professor Richard Dawkins, the renowned British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author, is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008. The author of a number of popular science books, including The Selfish Gene (1976), The Extended Phenotype (1982), The Blind Watchmaker (1986), and The God Delusion (2006), Dawkins is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association.

Professor Sir David King FRS is the former UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office of Science. He is currently Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford, Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, Senior Scientific Advisor to UBS, and Science Adviser to President Kagame of Rwanda.

Richard Herring is the hugely talented British comedian and writer who started his comedy career with his long time friend and writing partner Stewart Lee. Richard is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and in 2010 was named The Pod Delusion’s ‘Comedian of the Year’.

Kevin Warwick is Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, England, where he carries out research in artificial intelligence, control, robotics and biomedical engineering. Kevin is the author or co-author of more than 500 research papers and has written and edited 27 books. Sometimes called ‘The First Human Cyborg’ Kevin was successful with the first extra-sensory (ultrasonic) input for a human and with the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans. The Institute of Physics selected Kevin as one of only seven eminent scientists to illustrate the ethical impact their scientific work can have: the others being Galileo, Einstein, Curie, Nobel, Oppenheimer and Rotblat.

Mark Stevenson is a London-based British author, comedian, businessman, public speaker and futurologist, as well as a former semi-professional musician. His stand-up material focuses on science and he has appeared on BBC Radio 4′s long-running program You and Yours. Recently, Mark released a book entitled An Optimist’s Tour of the Future which predicts that invention and innovation can help overcome several of humanity’s current problems.

Carole Jahme is a journalist, author, broadcaster, performer and film and programme maker who manages to synthesise Darwinian theory in almost all of her creative ventures. Carole started her professional life as a model, dancer and actress, she worked with Gerry Cottles Circus performing on the trapeze, tight rope, clowning, acrobatics and acted in movies, TV, radio and theatre, with the likes of Morgan Freeman and Robert Downey Jr, but the call of the wild, particularly the call of wild primates, proved too seductive to resist. 

Paul McAuley is an award-winning science fiction author specialising in hard science fiction dealing with themes such as biotechnology, alternate history/alternate reality, and space travel. Born in England in 1955 Paul holds a Ph.D in Botany, and worked as a researcher in biology in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA. Paul’s first novel, Four Hundred Billion Stars, won the Philip K Dick Memorial Award. Fairyland won the 1995 Arthur C Clarke Award for best SF novel published in Britain.

Polly Higgins is a barrister, environmental lawyer and author who in 2010 proposed to the United Nations that ecocide be recognised as an international Crime Against Peace alongside Genocide, Crimes of Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression, triable at the International Criminal Court. Her years spent inside London courts representing individuals and corporations on discrimination cases brought her to the conclusion that the planet was also being treated unfairly, in particular by damaging corporate activity – but that nothing was being done to stop the abuse. In her 2010 publication Eradicating Ecocide Polly stated: ‘Corporations are the ones gambling our planet away and our governments are running the casino.’

Ben Hammersley was born in Leicester in 1976. He is a renowned British internet technologist, journalist, author, broadcaster, and diplomat. His credits include Editor at Large of Conde Nast’s Wired UK magazine, and a member of the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Media Freedom. He is also a freelance reporter for the BBC, a consultant to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Ambassador to East London Tech City. Following travelling undercover to interview the Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in 1999, Ben moved toward war correspondence and technological innovation.

Iszi lawrence is an English comedian, illustrator and artist. She is the voice of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe and has her own weekly podcast Sunday’s Supplement which she co-hosts with TV writer Simon Dunn. She is an international speaker on skepticism and atheism. She has six brothers and sisters (half of whom are Muslim) and is an only child. She lives with a poet and a cat who is rubbish at chess.

Gregory Claeys is an historian of radical, reform and socialist movements in late 18th and 19th century Britain. The author of seven books, he has focussed upon many of the leading secularist figures of this period, including Thomas Paine, William Godwin, Robert Owen and John Stuart Mill. He has long been interested in utopianism and dystopianism. He is particularly interested in eugenics, Malthusianism, Social Darwinism, feminism, and the fault-lines dividing utopian from dystopian projections of the future.
Roger Martin was a career diplomat for 22 years, serving in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the UN before resigning ‘in fury’ as a Deputy High Commissioner to become an environmentalist in the South West. Over the last 24 years he has been elected and appointed to countless local, regional and national Quango and NGO ‘green’ bodies, where he first noticed the ‘mad taboo’ on discussing the impact of population growth. He is now Chair of the environmental charity Population Matters. When asked, he describes his religion as ‘ecoist’

About the British Humanist Association
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.
 

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