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2006 Alcan Prize for Sustainability Awarded to India's Barefoot College

Alcan and the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2006 US$1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability is India's Barefoot College.

The Alcan Prize annually recognizes NGOs, not-for-profit, and civil society organizations working to build sustainable societies around the world. The Alcan Prize is managed independently by the IBLF.

"We are very pleased to congratulate the Barefoot College as the winner of the third annual Alcan Prize for Sustainability," said Daniel Gagnier, Senior Vice President, Corporate and External Affairs, Alcan Inc. "The Barefoot College makes a valuable contribution to India's rural and impoverished citizens by providing them with necessary and practical skills to improve their communities," he added.

Since 1972, Barefoot College has improved the lives of India's poorest people by emphasizing practical knowledge and skills over paper qualifications through a learning-by-doing process of education. Barefoot addresses the issues of drinking water, female education, health and sanitation, rural unemployment, income generation, electricity and power, as well as social awareness and the conservation of ecological systems in rural communities.

"The Alcan Prize is a validation of Barefoot's community-based model of development. The strength of our organization is a testament to the will power and hard work of our students. Their abilities are a constant source of inspiration," said Bunker Roy, Barefoot College Executive Director.

Located in Tilonia in India's northwest Rajasthan state, the Barefoot College was selected from a field of almost 200 entries from 55 countries around the world by an international adjudication panel of distinguished experts on sustainability.

"The Barefoot College has created an inspirational ripple effect in rural India and communities in other countries through its innovative work in demonstrating how empowerment, grass roots technology and education enables people to promote sustainable communities and better control their destinies," said Robert Davies, IBLF Chief Executive Officer.

"The Barefoot College is a remarkable organization that impressed and inspired us with their sustainable impact on environmental, economic, social and cultural issues. They have effected great change through strong leadership and partnerships, which coupled with their grassroots approach serves to empower the poorest of the poor," added David Runnalls, Chairman of the adjudication panel and President and CEO of International Institute for Sustainable Development.

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