The Bright Award was created by a gift from Raymond E. Bright, Jr., JD ’59 in 2007 on behalf of his late wife, Marcelle, and himself. Mr. Bright died in 2011. Under the terms of his gift, the Bright Award is given annually to an “individual who has made significant contributions in the environmental preservation and sustainability area” and is awarded to an individual from one of ten rotating regions. The regions the winners have been chosen from since the award’s inception are: South Asia, the Middle East; West Asia; Africa; Europe; South America; and North America.
The nomination committee is led by Barton H. Thompson, Jr., Robert E. Paradise Professor in Natural Resources Law, Stanford Law School, and former Perry L. McCarty Director & Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. The nomination committee is comprised of Stanford Law School faculty members, law students and others on campus, with assistance from consultants focused on designated regions of the world, and will recommend potential candidates each year. The Dean of Stanford Law School will select the final award recipient. An Advisory Committee, consisting of Michael Bright, George Bright, and Alan Markle, helps oversee the Bright Award and also provides guidance in the selection of the recipient. The award winner receives $100,000 and delivers a public lecture at Stanford University. 2013 was the inaugural year of the award.
The Stanford Bright Award for Environmental Sustainability Honoring Maria Azhunova (2020) and India Logan-Riley (2021)
On April 14, 2022, Bright Award winners Maria Azhunova (2020) and India Logan-Riley (2021) were honored with an award presentation followed by a panel discussion with the two winners. Joining them were Brook Thompson, an Indigenous leader and Stanford graduate student, and Greg Dalton, Climate One podcast, who moderated the panel.
The panel discussion focused on the challenges and opportunities around implementing Indigenous conservation approaches around the world, outlining a path forward that incorporates Indigenous rights and knowledge. With climate changes already causing devastating impacts, and with over 80% of the world’s biodiversity occurring on Indigenous lands, respecting and reviving Indigenous conservation practices will be critical for protecting future ecosystem health and mitigating climate impacts.Watch the Event
The Bright Idea Podcast
The Bright Idea is a Stanford Law School podcast that highlights some of the most promising and inspirational work around the world in sustainability and conservation. Professor Buzz Thompson begins this series by talking to some of the past winners of Stanford Law School’s Bright Award. The Bright Award is an annual environmental award given to individuals who have dedicated their careers to improving sustainability and conservation. It is the only award like it in the world, and it is the highest environmental prize given by Stanford University. Stanford Law School Alumnus, Ray Bright, established the Bright Award with the goal of recognizing the winners’ prior sustainability work and supporting and extending that work into the future.
- The primary criterion of the Bright Award is the contribution that the individual has made to environmental preservation and global sustainability.
- The emphasis of the award is on environmental sustainability. Although the work of the award recipient can address broad issues of sustainability (including economic and social sustainability), the work must also speak to the importance of environmental preservation as part of overall sustainability.
- Although the primary criterion speaks of “global sustainability,” the work of the award recipient can focus on local or regional issues; the recipient need not have worked at the global level. However, it is important that the work of the recipient provide a model for addressing, or otherwise speak to, issues of global importance.
- The recipient of the award need not be broadly known for his or her work. Indeed, the selection committee encourages the nomination of “hidden heroes” of environmental sustainability.
- Ideally, the publicity and funding that will accompany the Bright Award will help the recipient to continue and expand his or her work on behalf of environmental preservation and sustainability. As a result, we have a preference that the recipient be an individual who is still actively engaged in the pursuit of environmental preservation and sustainability and whose work therefore is likely to benefit from receipt of the award. This is merely a preference, and not a requirement, however.
- The award winner must come from the Atlantic (including the Arctic, Antarctic, and any Atlantic islands but not including mainland North, Central, or South America).