Director Haifaa al-Mansour attends a premiere for Mary Shelley on day 3 of the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday. Al-Mansour was among the three recipients of the World Economic Forum's 2019 Crystal Awards. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

CAPE TOWN - Renowned musical conductor Marin Alsop, history-making filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour and celebrated broadcaster and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough have been named as the World Economic Forum's 2019 Crystal Award recipients.

The Crystal Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of leading artists and cultural figures whose leadership inspires inclusive and sustainable change.

The three awardees will be honoured at the opening session of the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, on January 21. 

The 2019 annual meeting takes place 22-25 January under the theme "Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution".

"Any new architecture for 'Globalization 4.0' will need to be both inclusive and sustainable. The remarkable achievements of the recipients of the 25th Annual Crystal Award inspire us to see beyond the limits of convention to find solutions for the current issues the world faces," said Hilde Schwab, Chairwoman and Co-Founder of the World Economic Forum’s World Arts Forum which hosts the awards.

Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony since 2007, will be recognised for her leadership in championing diversity in music.

In a statement, WEF described Alsop as "one of the greatest conductors of our time". 

Earlier this year she was the first woman to be appointed Chief Conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and, in 2013, was the first woman in 118 years to conduct the BBC’s “Last Night of the Proms”. 

She has tirelessly endeavoured to provide opportunities for all people to access music for a world where diversity in classical music is the norm rather than the exception. In Baltimore she launched the “OrchKids” programme to serve the city’s less privileged children, and the BSO Academy and Rusty Musicians for adult amateur musicians. 

She is also Music Director of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of Yale University and a MacArthur Fellow (2005), at the WEF Annual Meeting, she will lead the Opening Performance with the Taki Concordia Orchestra.
Al-Mansour, the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia, will be recognised for her leadership in cultural transformation in the Arab world.

“Wadjda”, Al Mansour’s feature debut, was the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first by a female director, while the success of her 2005 documentary “Women Without Shadows” was a breakthrough that was followed by a new wave of Saudi filmmakers and front-page headlines of Saudi Arabia finally opening cinemas in the kingdom. 

She was recently appointed to the Board of the General Authority for Culture to advise on the development of the cultural and arts sectors in Saudi Arabia and recently released “Mary Shelly” starring Elle Fanning, and “Nappily Ever After” starring Sanaa Lathan. 

Al Mansour is the first artist from the Arabian Gulf region to be invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Sir David Attenborough, whose broadcasting career spans more than six decades, is to be recognised for his leadership in environmental stewardship.

WEF said that during his career he has played an extraordinary role, both reinventing and developing the medium of television and connecting people to the wonders of the natural world, bringing distant peoples, animals and habitats into living rooms across the planet. 

As a BBC producer and executive, he has played a crucial role in creating new forms of programming and scheduling that, to this day, influence global broadcasting. His work includes many iconic productions, from the ground-breaking “Zoo Quest” series to landmarks including “Life on Earth”, “The Living Planet”, “The Trials of Life”, “The Private Life of Plants”, “Life of Mammals” and “Planet Earth”. 

At the Annual Meeting, Sir David will present key sequences from “Our Planet”, a new series by WWF, Netflix and Silverback Films, focusing on the preservation of life on earth.

The WEF Annual Meeting brings together leaders from government, international organisations, business, civil society, culture and media, foremost experts and the young generation from all over the world, at the highest level and in representative ways. It engages some 50 heads of state and government, more than 300 ministerial-level government participants, and business representation at the chief executive officer and chair level. 

African News Agency (ANA)