Elton John will receive the Harvard Foundation’s 2017 Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award at a ceremony on Nov. 6.
The legendary musician is being recognized for his philanthropic work toward HIV/AIDS research, through his foundation, The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF).
“Accepting an award like this is both gratifying and tremendously humbling,” John said in a statement. “I remain committed, now more than ever, to helping sustain and grow the progress we’ve made to eradicate stigma and end the spread of HIV/AIDS, once and for all.”
The foundation’s focus is two-fold. They aim to raise funds for evidence-based programs and policies, as well as to speak out with honesty and compassion about real victims’ lives. John created EJAF in 1992, and introduced a branch in the United Kingdom in 1993. In total, $385 million has been raised to fight discrimination against people affected by the disease, prevent infections, provide treatment and lobby governments to take measures to prevent AIDS.
Past recipients of the award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations Secretaries General Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan, gender rights advocate Malala Yousafzai and anti-labor spokesman Kailash Satyarthi.
“It’s an honor to share this recognition with such illustrious past recipients,” John said.
This is not the first time Harvard has recognized John. On Oct. 15, 2013, the Harvard School of Public Health gave him its AIDS Initiative Leadership Award. This award is given to those who show exceptional “vision, leadership, and courage” in the effort to stop AIDS worldwide. Past recipients of this award include Arthur Ashe, Princess Diana, President Festus Mogae of Botswana and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.