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20 November 2006

Person of the Year 2006

The New Statesman's Humanity Award

By Staff Blogger

Who is the person you would say has done most for the good of humanity this year? Which man or woman most demonstrated the better side of being human?

This week we are launching the New Statesman Person of the Year Humanity Award. It’s your chance to nominate someone who has done most in the past 12 months to inspire and enrich the lives of others, either in their community or profession, globally or locally.

You have until 8 December to make your nomination. The vote takes place entirely online, so visit http://www.newstatesman.com/personoftheyear to take part.

When all nominations are received we will count up the votes, and the winner of the award will be profiled in the NS Christmas Special (out on 15 December).

Prize Draw: The names of everyone who nominated the winner will then go into a prize draw: first out of the hat receives a luxury ethical food hamper and a six-month subscription to the NS. Quarterly NS subscriptions go to ten runners-up.

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Will Hutton nominates
Warren Buffett, philanthropist

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The individual who inspired me most in 2006 is Warren Buffett, America’s second-richest man. In June he announced he was giving away $30bn to the Gates Foundation – the largest charitable donation in American history – which will make the foundation a real force in the alleviation of African poverty. He says he intends to give away the rest of his money to charity. A long-term investor, a business builder and a passionate advocate of inheritance tax, Warren Buffett is a shrewd and ethical capitalist – the quintessential expression of stakeholder capitalism.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, nominates
Camilla Batmanghelidjh, children’s advocate

Camilla Batmanghelidjh has been one of the most important visionaries of 2006. At the helm of the children’s support organisation Kids Company, Camilla has become one of the greatest advocates for the most neglected and denigrated children and young people in this country. Her passion, professionalism and independence have forced politicians across the party spectrum to sit up. Her book Shattered Lives should be read by all progressives.

Jon Snow nominates
Angela Donald, mother

Angela Donald’s 15-year-old son Kriss was murdered. It was a horrific killing. The five young Asian men who killed him were convicted of racially aggravated murder. The BNP attempted to whip up a racial confrontation but Angela Donald, in the midst of her appalling grief, pleaded with the community to come together: “I would urge the public not to target the Asian community because of my son’s death.”

First Minister Jack McConnell said that her action and example had enabled the community to move on.

Amit Chaudhuri nominates
Tom Paulin, poet

For me, Tom Paulin is an exemplary figure who represents human values and, in an immediate and uniquely urgent way, the importance of humane qualities. He has done a great deal, in Britain, to enrich culture and intellectual life: by stating unwaveringly, often riskily, what he believes to be right; by committing himself completely to aesthetic and political freedom, as is evident again from his astonishing new essays on Defoe and other writers; in the singular mixture of political passion, vernacular play, and cosmopolitan eclecticism in his poetic practice; and in his personal generosity of response. He is an informing moral presence.

Shazia Mirza nominates
Borat, spoof Kazakhstani

Sacha Baron Cohen’s creation is offensive, misogynistic and anti-Semitic, but I can think of no better way of showing the Americans their own ignorance and prejudices than through humour. He breaks down barriers, making us think: why are we laughing? Should we laugh? Political correctness leads to suppressed prejudice. Borat doesn’t care, and consequently has pushed the barriers of our thinking forward.

To make your nomination, go now to http://www.newstatesman.com/personoftheyear

We regret no entries can be accepted by post

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