Natalie du Toit Wins International Award

BRUSSELS, Belgium, November 18. SOUTH African Olympian and Paralympian Natalie du Toit won the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) Youth Leadership Award 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels. The award recognizes young leaders with an astonishing track record of performance and/or social responsibility.

According to Christoph Glaser, a member of the IAHV Board in Europe, du Toit was selected because of her raw defiance in not giving up on her goals. "We admire her indomitable will and strong determination, and the fact that she has become a source of inspiration to the youth of her country."

Other recipients of the 2008 IAHV Ethics in Business Award included The Outstanding Individual Award to Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Founder, SEKEM, Egypt; The Outstanding Scientist/Academic Award to Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans-Peter Dürr, Founder, Global Challenges Network, Germany; and The Outstanding Corporation Award to G.M. Rao, Group Chairman, GMR Group, India.

"It is a real honor to be representing South Africa and to receive this award, especially at this prestigious event which includes such esteemed delegates," says du Toit. "I would like to give a message to everyone: it is possible for everybody to achieve something. You don't have to be the best singer but you can still write your song.

"I would also like to thank everyone for their support: the public in South Africa, the people close to me, everyone. Without teamwork these types of awards would not be possible. I feel that the coming months will be very special."

Du Toit received the award at the Ethics in Business – Corporate Culture & Spirituality Conference at the European Parliament. The event, organized by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) brings together a diverse mix of politicians, academics, business and spiritual leaders to dialogue on the global financial crisis and its connection to ethics in business.

Recognizing the importance of stimulating dialogue between current and future leaders, the conference also provides a rare opportunity for 50 young professionals from 16 countries to present their vision for a sustainable future to the delegates of the conference at the European Parliament. Participants included representatives from the World Bank, multinational corporations, high-ranking politicians and world-renowned spiritual leaders.

Previous award recipients include Suhas Gopinath, CEO & President of Globals Inc. He was named the world's youngest CEO by the Washington Times and BBC. Gopinath received the award for his outstanding performance, at such a young age, as an international business executive, and for establishing a platform which encourages youth in their chosen IT career and empowers them to improve their entrepreneurial and personal skills.

"This will be an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I have learned many values and lessons and hope that many more people will have this opportunity in the future."

Special thanks to Swimming South Africa for contributing this report.