Bright Award

The Bright Award at Stanford University recognizes an individual who has made unheralded contributions to environmental sustainability.

About the Bright Award

The Bright Award at Stanford University 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." Each year the recipient will be selected from one of 10 rotating regions.

Each year, Stanford Law School will give the Bright Award to an individual working in a specific region of the world. The award winner receives $100,000 and delivers a public lecture at Stanford University. The inaugural Bright Award, delivered in 2013, goes to an individual from South America.

The list of regions from which winners will be chosen over the next five years is shown below:

  • 2013 – South America
  • 2014 – North and Central America
  • 2015 – Europe
  • 2016 – Africa
  • 2017 – West Asia

A nomination committee comprised of Stanford Law School faculty members, law students and others on campus, with assistance from consultants focused on designated regions of the world, 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 provide guidance in the selection of the recipient.

2016 Recipient

Tom Lalampaa, chief programmes officer at Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) in Kenya, will be honored on Wednesday, September 28, as the 2016 Bright Award winner. Lalampaa has a background in community development, conservancy management, and fundraising, and was key to creating a conservation area of 3 million acres under the NRT which has benefited more than 150,000 people. Learn more about Lalampaa and the NRT

Nomination Criteria

  1. The primary criterion of the Bright Award is the contribution that the individual has made to environmental preservation and global sustainability.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The award winner must come from or work primarily in Africa (excluding Egypt, Eritrea, and Somalia).  The fact that an individual is now working on issues primarily outside Africa is not disqualifying, however, so long as the individual has previously devoted significant time to addressing issues in Africa and is known in Africa for that work.