In an unlikely opening for an event known as annual congregation of movers and shakers of global economy, it was an award for Oscar and Golden Globe winner Hollywood actress Charlize Theron for her work against AIDS that marked the start of the World Economic Forum here.
Theron along with Pakistani documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Brazilian artist Vik Muniz were given the honours during the ceremony in the Swiss ski town of
"I can think of no bigger shadow than the one cast upon Africa -- that is AIDS and HIV," Theron said after getting the Crystal Award in opening ceremony of WEF Annual Meeting last night.
Theron, whose native place happens to be Africa and who has been working towards fighting the widespread presence of this disease in the region, said Africa accounts for two-third of the HIV/AIDS deaths worldwide, but time has come for everyone to come forward to ensure the first ever generation of no one being born with this virus.
A United Nations messenger for peace in Africa, Theron said her aim is also to work towards making the youth of the region safe from AIDS.
Theron had her portrait taken at the WEF summit for a campaign named 'Big Push' against diseases like AIDS/HIV, Malaria and TB.
Joining Theron as another Crystal Award winner, Chinoy, who received the award for his documentaries on acid attacks, said, "It is difficult for people like me to live in Pakistan. But I still live there because of the power of films."
Chinoy, who began writing at the age of 14 and whose documentary on acid attacks led to a major debate in Pakistan and elsewhere, said it was the power of films that led to acid attacks on women being made a crime where people can be sent to jails.
Awards were given by Hilde Schwab, wife of WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, who declared open the meeting with a call for 'soul, heart, brains and good nerves'.