The Sophie Prize 2000:
The Jury's Decision

Environmental Journalist from China
Sheri Liao
wins the Sophie Prize 2000 

We have the great pleasure of announcing that Sheri Liao, environmental journalist and activist representing the Global Village Beijing (www.ifce.org/gvb/), is the winner of The 2000 Sophie Prize.Through Chinese Television and radio she has managed to mobilise millions of Chinese people and inspired them for the environment. Sheri Liao is well known in China as the producer of Time for Environment, a weekly, national program on Beijing's science channel.

Liao Xiaoyi (Sheri Liao) was born in Sichuan, China in 1954. She received her master's degree in philosophy in 1986 and became a researcher at the China Academy of Social Science. She was a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Sichuan University for five years. 

Ms. Liao published numerous articles on the environmental costs of industrialisation in China before becoming an independent producer of environmental television programming. Her first significant work, Daughters of the Earth", was produced using her own personal savings earned as a visiting scholar in the U.S. for the NGO Forum during the Fourth World Conference on Women. 

In 1995 she realised her lifelong dream of producing an environmental program for China national television when Green Civilisation and China, a monthly program which reaches up to 100 million viewers, began in January 1996 (each programme is produced for less than US $ 500). Time for Environment her weekly program commenced in April 1996 and reaches over 40 million people (133 episodes were produced in 1998 alone). 

While as environmental programs in the West are devoted to nature programs, Ms. Liao devotes her programs to fundamental environmental challenges and basic values that affect everyday citizens.

Ms. Liao founded the NGO Global Village of Beijing (GVB) in March 1996 and has initiated a series of environmental projects carried out in the media and through public lectures, media events, workshops and other outreach activities. GVB has initiated community programs such as Recycling Campaign, Organic Vegetable Garden, GVB's Conservation Center and Green Citizen Movement. The community programs involves community staff and residents, teachers and students, parents and children to work as a team to change life style based on sustainable consumption.  

As one of seven environmental specialists, Sheri Liao was invited for the panel discussion with President Clinton, while he was visiting China in 1998. 

Sheri Liao recently finished a nation-wide "Earthday 2000 China" (22 April) initiative.  

The Sophie Prize winner comes to Oslo, Norway, to receive the Prize on a Ceremony June 14th. While visiting Norway she will produce a TV-program about Norwegian environmental work, to be sent on Chines TV.

The jury of The Sophie Prize has granted the award to Sheri Liao on account of her:

  • pioneering and tireless  effort of effectively reaching out to the Chinese people, promoting environmental awareness and inspiring change in lifestyle.
  • ability to work both at mobilising millions of people and engaging in a constructive dialogue with government and media
  • efforts in building a new environmental movement in China, through the establishment of Global Village Beijing and forging links with local communities, NGOs in China and internationally
  • addressing the complex environmental challenges China is facing and advocating strongly for pollution control, environmentally sound resource management and sustainable lifestyles.

Sheri Liao is an inspiration to all people that strive for a sustainable future. 

At the turn of the millennium the world is faced with unprecedented exploitation of natural resources and increased environmental stress through pollution, threatening the livelihood security of all people. Twenty two % of the world's population lives in China. As China prospers through an unprecedented rate of economic growth, the choices China makes when it comes to environmental resource management will define the future for all humankind.