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Charmian Gooch of Global Witness wins the TED Prize; will reveal wish for the world at TED2014

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Charmian Gooch introduces global corruption's hidden players at TEDGlobal 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Charmian Gooch of Global Witness introduces global corruption’s hidden players at TEDGlobal 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

“It’s easy to think that corruption happens somewhere over there, carried out by a bunch of greedy despots,” says anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch in her blistering talk from TEDGlobal 2013. “The reality is that the engine of corruption exists far beyond the shores of countries like Equatorial Guinea or Nigeria or Turkmenistan. This engine is driven by our international banking system, by the problem of anonymous shell companies, by the secrecy that we have afforded big oil, gas and mining operations and, most of all, by the failure of our politicians to back up their rhetoric.”

Gooch, along with her Global Witness co-founders and co-directors — Patrick Alley and Simon Taylor — have spent 20 years doing research and deep analysis into the many ways that corruption weaves itself into society. And so TED is pleased to announce Gooch as the recipient of the 2014 TED Prize, honoring Global Witness’ work to date – and calling on them to use the $1 million prize to make a world-changing wish. On March 18, Gooch will take the TED stage to share this wish with world, and look to the TED community to help make it become a reality.

This wish has been in the works for months. After careful consideration of more than 1,000 nominations, Gooch was selected as the TED Prize winner by a jury of TED community members.

Notably, the Skoll Foundation will also honor Global Witness this year with its own million-dollar-plus prize to help further the organization’s work.

“That both TED and Skoll independently selected Charmian and Global Witness as recipients of these prizes is a remarkable testament to their daring investigative and campaigning work,” says TED curator Chris Anderson.

“Social entrepreneurs are, by definition, disruptors. Charmian’s leadership epitomizes great social entrepreneurship,” says Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “Skoll and TED both connect and showcase inspiring, entrepreneurial, breakthrough innovators. We are thrilled to be working closely with our TED colleagues.”

If you haven’t watched Gooch’s talk from TEDGlobal 2013, do it now. While you’re at it, read the detailed annotations of her talk. But of course, the heart of the TED Prize is a wish — a bold call to galvanize global action. Mark your calendars for March 18, 6-7:45pm Pacific time, to watch Gooch reveal her wish during Session 4 of TED2014. This session will be broadcast globally for free at this URL, which will be accessible 30 minutes before the session begins:

Then in early April, Gooch, Taylor and Alley will be honored along with other 2014 Skoll Awardees at the 11th Annual Skoll World Forum in Oxford.

“Everyone at Global Witness is honored and thrilled,” says Gooch. “This is truly a rocket boost to our work – making it possible for us to carry out even more cutting edge investigations, report on matters in the public interest, and launch hard hitting campaigns that challenge vested interests and change the system. This being our 20th anniversary year, we couldn’t have wished for a better birthday present.”

Nominations for the 2015 TED Prize are open through March 31, 2014. Find out more about how to nominate »