Yusuf Islam Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
For decades of service to humanity
Last night, Yusuf Islam received the Lifetime Achievement Award at The TRT World Citizen Awards, hosted in Istanbul. The awards recognises incredible individuals from around the world who have been engaged in groundbreaking and remarkable work in service to humanity. Yusuf, who is widely known as his stage name ‘Cat Stevens’, has been awarded for his contributions to society through service and leadership.
Yusuf says, “What’s going on all over the world right now, with street protests and disturbances everywhere, must wake us up. The unfair economic imbalance in the world, alongside the waves of deadly pollution enveloping our planet, are not sustainable. Thank God there are people – like those here – who are working against those powerful currents, to overturn the harm being done.”
He has been involved consistently in remarkable humanitarian endeavors since he stopped performing in 1978 to focus on his philanthropic work. His timeless hits as ‘Cat Stevens’ in the 1970s that made him the voice of his generation – with songs such as ‘Wild World’, ‘Father and Son’ and ‘Peace Train’ connecting with people all over the world, just as his charity work does.
Yusuf gave a final performance under his stage name at the 1979 UNICEF International Year of the Child Concert, then auctioned off all his instruments to charity. His humanitarian work expanded with time. In 1985, in response to the famine and floods in Sudan and Ethiopia, he established an international aid agency. Soon it was assisting refugees in War torn Afghanistan and Palestine. When the civil conflict in Bosnia escalated in 1992, Yusuf was involved in delivering assistance to those displaced from their homes. This was just the beginning and from then to present day, Yusuf has worked tirelessly for humanity.
In 2004, he was presented with the ‘Man of Peace’ award by Mikhail Gorbachev for “alleviating the suffering of thousands of children and dedicating himself to promoting peace.” Later that year, Yusuf travelled to Indonesia to set up offices and deliver aid to survivors after the tsunamis claimed over 250,000 lives in the region.
Forward to November 2019, the first action of Yusuf’s Global Peace Train Project was announced. The Peace Train volunteers participated in the planting of 11 million saplings across 2,023 locations in Turkey. The event was part of the “Breath for the Future” campaign, a massive reforestation initiative that will be observed annually and highlights the country’s commitment to a greener future.
The TRT World Citizen Awards’ attendees came from around the world in the fields of politics, academia, arts and entertainment, humanitarian aid, and business. The Director General of TRT, Ibrahim Eren, opened the night with a presentation on the work of TRT World Citizen during the last year. This was followed by a key speech by Turkey’s First Lady, Emine Erdogan, who also presented Yusuf with his award.
Four awards were conferred in the categories of Education, Communication and Lifetime Achievement, and the special honour: “Citizen of the Year”. The night also included the three finalists of TRT World Citizen’s inSHORT Film Competition, which received over three thousand submissions of creative short films from 110 countries representing the plight of child refugees.
TRT World Citizen is the philanthropic arm of TRT World highlighting global humanitarian issues, and individuals who are working tirelessly to make the world a better place.
For more information about the Forum, visit http://researchcentre.trtworld.com/forum/forum-201
For Yusuf Islam media enquiries, contact:
The Outside Organisation
020 7436 3633