The Bertelsmann Foundation, the US arm of the German-based BertelsmannStiftung, announced that former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves is the recipient of the foundation's 2017 Reinhard Mohn Prize "Smart Country: Connected. Intelligent. Digital."
"We award him the prize in honor of his pioneering work on the promotion of digitalization in government, education and public services. Ilves will be awarded the prize worth €200,000 at a ceremony in Gütersloh on June 29," the foundation announced on Thursday.
The announcement on the Bertelsmann Foundation's website highlighted how during his ten year term of office between 2006-2016, Ilves made the digitalization of Estonia a presidential responsibility, pursuing this goal consistently.
"Estonia is now considered an exemplary digital nation," the announcement read.
The foundation likewise recognized Ilves as a politician quick to understand the possibilities for social changes and renewal that came with digitalization, highlighting that Estonia used its digitalization in the fight against corruption, the promotion of free speech and freedom of opinion as well as the promotion of the development of rural infrastructure.
"Personal visits to public authorities are the absolute exception for Estonians," the foundation highlighted. "Since 2002, Estonian citizens have been able to process nearly all official transactions with their electronic ID, which includes a digital signature."
According to the announcement, the Reinhard Mohn Prize is awarded every year to an exceptional, globally active individual who has played a key role in creating solutions for social and political issues.
Previous recipients of the award include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Polish politician Tadeusz Mazowiecki and anti-corruption organization Transparency International.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla