2021 SPEAKERS

Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett
Prime Minister of Israel

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Merav Michaeli

Merav Michaeli
Minister of Transport and Road Safety

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Orit Farkash-Hacohen

Orit Farkash-Hacohen
Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology

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Prof. Amnon Shashua

Prof. Amnon Shashua
President & CEO of Mobileye, Senior VP at Intel

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Prof. Amnon Shashua is a world-renowned expert in AI, computer vision, natural language processing, and more. He is a 2020 Dan David Prize laureate in Artificial intelligence and has founded and leads four companies using applied AI in various fields from automotive to assisted wearables to fintech: Mobileye, OrCam, AI21 Labs, and Israel’s First Digital Bank (in setup). Prof. Shashua serves as President & CEO of Mobileye and is a Senior VP at Intel Corporation. He is the Sachs Chair in Computer Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has published over 120 papers, and holds over 81 patents.
Hildegard Müller

Hildegard Müller
President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry

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  Date of birth: 29.06.1967 Education: September 1987 to June 1989 Apprenticeship as a bank clerk at Dresdner Bank AG in Düsseldorf Studies: October 1989 to November 1994 Heinrich-heine-Universität Düsseldorf Business administration Degree: Graduate in business administration Profession: May 2016 – October 2019: Chief Operating Officer Grid & Infrastructure, Innogy SE October 2008 – January 2016: Chief Executive Officer of BDEW e.V. (German Association of Energy and Water Industries), Berlin November 2005 – September 2008: Minister of State to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany October 2002 – September 2008: Member of the German Parliament (Bundestag) March 1995 – September 2008: Dresdner bank AG, Head of Department (activity suspended in November 2005)
Martin Jahn

Martin Jahn
Board Member, Sales & Marketing, ŠKODA AUTO

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Martin Jahn was born in Prague, Czech Republic, in 1970. In 1994, he received a master’s degree in Foreign Trade and International Relations from the University of Economics in Prague. In 1999, he completed an MBA programme in marketing at the DePaul University in Chicago. From 1994 to 2004, Jahn worked for CzechInvest, the Czech government agency for foreign investment. He started there as Marketing Manager, heading the company’s US operations in Chicago from 1996 to 1999, and held the position of CEO from 2000 to 2004. He was Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs in the Czech Republic between 2004 and 2006. In 2006, he started working in industry at ŠKODA AUTO a.s. in Mladב Boleslav as Board Member for Human Resources. In 2008, Jahn was appointed Managing Director of Volkswagen Group NSC in Moscow, Russia, where he was responsible for Group Sales. He was also a member of the Supervisory Boards of VW Financial Services Russia (2009 - 2010) and ŠKODA AUTO a.s. (2009 – 2016). Jahn served as President of the Czech Automotive Industry Association (2009 – 2016) and Vice President of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (2009 – 2012). In 2010, Jahn became Managing Director of the Volkswagen Group’s international fleet business in Wolfsburg, Germany, where he was responsible for managing global Group sales from 2016, he worked in China as Executive Vice President for Sales & Marketing and Managing Director of the Volkswagen brand at FAW-VW. Jahn has been Board Member for Sales and Marketing at ŠKODA AUTO a.s. since March 2021.
Naoki “Nick” Sugimoto

Naoki “Nick” Sugimoto
Chief executive for Honda Innovations

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Naoki “Nick” Sugimoto serves as chief executive for Honda Innovations, the US-based open innovation and corporate venturing arm for Japan-headquartered mobility company Honda. In this role, he manages transformative partnerships for various Honda divisions encompassing different aspects including product development, manufacturing and new business creation. Throughout his time at Honda, he has helped the corporate identify advanced information technology research and development (R&D) and corporate venture capital (CVC) opportunities in Silicon Valley, as well as its cross-border strategic partnerships. Formally known as Honda R&D Innovations and previously called Honda Silicon Valley Lab (HSVL), the unit focuses on forging new collaborations with innovation ecosystem builders, particularly in the mobility space. Honda Innovations has the open innovation program called Honda Xcelerator.  Honda Xcelerator supports startups with funding, workspaces and mentoring, as well as access to Honda’s test vehicles to build POCs. In 2018, the unit invested in four venture capital firms: 360 Capital Partners, JB Nordic Ventures, SOSV and Yunqi Partners. Sugimoto had led HSVL as Senior Program Director for six years from 2011, which was under the auspices of Honda R&D Americas at the time. The lab concentrated on collaborations between Honda and global tech companies to create innovative products for its customers. “A lot of change is happening in the technology and automotive industries, and going forward it is more important now than ever for Honda to work with innovators of all types to remain competitive,” Sugimoto already said back in 2016. “Your experience in the car is going to be very, very different in the future.” He was quoted by Forbes in 2017 as saying: “We will be the Honda hub globally for open innovation, with much more speed and scale. “We are adding an open innovation angle as a new methodology for all R&D centers to tap into and use to accelerate their process. “We are pretty broad in scouting new technology, innovations from the venture community, not just automobile technology but all aspects of Honda. We are serving all of them.” Sugimoto was instrumental in helping Honda become a founding member of the Open Automotive Alliance, which is an industry organization for automotive manufacturers and technology companies working on integrating Android system with cars.   Before that, he had overseen the CVC scheme for six years from 2005 at Honda Research Institute, where he invested in several disruptive startups and formed strategic partnerships. Prior to Honda, Sugimoto was a prolific entrepreneur leading a number of technology companies in the United States and Japan. For example, he created a community website that was similar to crowd-sourced review platform Yelp and classifieds portal Craigslist targeting Japanese speakers globally.   Sugimoto holds mechanical engineering degree from University of Tokyo and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley.
Yunseong Hwang

Yunseong Hwang
Head of Open Innovation Investment Group, Hyundai Motor Group

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Dr. Hwang is the Head of the Open Innovation Investment Group at Hyundai Motor Group, where he oversees the strategic direction of open innovation activities. He manages startup acceleration, strategic investments, joint R&Ds, and joint ventures in the OI Investment Group. Dr. Hwang holds a Ph.D. in Material Science and Computer Simulation from Seoul National University.
Prof. Alex `Sandy' Pentland

Prof. Alex `Sandy' Pentland
Director of the MIT Connection Science

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Professor Alex 'Sandy' Pentland directs MIT Connection Science, an MIT-wide initiative, and has helped lead the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Mobility Initiative. He is one of the most-cited  computational scientists in the world, and Forbes declared him one of the "7 most powerful data scientists in the world" along with Google founders and the Chief Technical Officer of the United States.  He has been a Board member for UN, Google, AT&T, Nissan and other institutions.   He co-led the World Economic Forum discussion in Davos that led to the EU privacy regulation GDPR, and was central in designing Nissan's autonomous driving architecture and strategy.   He is a member of the US National Academies, and recent books include Social Physics (Penguin) and Trusted Data (MIT Press).
Arkady Volozh

Arkady Volozh
Chief Executive Officer, Yandex

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Arkady Volozh is a technology entrepreneur, investor, computer scientist, and philanthropist, best known as the founder and CEO of Yandex, one of Europe's largest Internet companies, operating Russia's most popular search engine. Volozh co-founded several successful IT enterprises such as InfiNet Wireless, CompTek International, and Arkadia Company. In his early days, Volozh pioneered the development of search with new technology advancements and search software companies.   Today, Volozh and Yandex remain at the forefront of cutting edge technology and the future of AI, having recently launched a Russian-speaking intelligent assistant and introduced a driverless car prototype among other major milestones set to shape the future.
Michal Frank

Michal Frank
Director General of Ministry of Transportation at Government of Israel

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Dr. Luc Julia

Dr. Luc Julia
CSO, Renault Group

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Dr. Luc JULIA, Chief Scientific Officer for Renault, was CTO and Senior Vice President of Innovation for Samsung Electronics, directed Siri at Apple, was Chief Technologist at Hewlett- Packard and cofounded a number of start-ups in the Silicon Valley. While conducting research at SRI International, he was involved in the creation of Nuance Communications, now the world leader in speech recognition. Recipient of Lיgion d’Honneur, the highest order of France, and member of its National Academy of Technologies, he holds degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris and earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Ecole Nationale Supיrieure des Tיlיcommunications de Paris. He is the bestselling author of the book “There is no such thing as Artificial Intelligence”, holds dozens of patents and is recognized as one of the top 100 most influential French developers in the digital world.
Dr. Nikolai Ardey

Dr. Nikolai Ardey
Executive Director Group Innovation, Volkswagen Group

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Dr. Nikolai Ardey is the Executive Director of Group Innovation at Volkswagen Group. After 18 years at BMW in several positions in the Powertrain department, Nikolai joined Audi as Vice President of Powertrain development. Since 2020 Nikolai serves as the Executive Director of Group Innovation; the future research and innovation arm of the VW Group, supporting Group’s brands on sustainability, mobility, digital platforms, powertrain, and further innovation topics.
Marco Liccardo

Marco Liccardo
Chief Technology Officer, IVECO

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Marco has been working in CNH Industrial - IVECO for almost 20 years. He spent most of his career in Research & Development covering leadership roles in different countries. From 2008 to 2012 he has been in charge of Product Development and Engineering for IVECO Latin America. In 2012 he assumed the responsibility of Product Development & Engineering for Asia Pacific for full CNH Industrial products portfolio. Back to Europe in 2016, he covered the role of Head of Product Development and Engineering for IVECO trucks and commercial vehicles world-wide. In 2019 he has been appointed as Head of Global Product Line Medium & Heavy trucks. In 2020 he assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer for IVECO. Marco holds a degree in engineering from Federico II University in Naples - Italy
Nick Albanese

Nick Albanese
Head of Intelligent Mobility at BloombergNEF | Shared Mobility, Autonomous Vehicles

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Nick Albanese leads BloombergNEF's global Intelligent Mobility team, which produces research, data, and forecasts on shared mobility services and autonomous vehicles. Based in Washington D.C., Nick has 5+ years of experience advising the world’s leading automakers, energy companies, governments and investors on the policies, technologies, corporate strategies, and economic factors shaping the future of e-mobility. He is also a lead author of BNEF’s widely-cited “Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook”. Prior to joining BNEF, Nick conducted energy market research at Barclays, ExxonMobil, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the U.S. Department of Energy. He holds a B.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a M.I.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Gael Escribe

Gael Escribe
Founding Partner and CEO, NEXUS Automotive International

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Gael Escribe (Franco-Dutch, 51) joined the automotive aftermarket world in 1997 at Valeo becoming general manager of Valeo Service Eastern Europe in 1999, followed by a GM assignment at Valeo Service Northern Europe in 2002. In 2005, he moved to Delphi Aftermarket as Vice-President EMEA and soon joined the European governance board of Delphi.

Following the globalization of the market and the expectation of fast-moving markets to get involved in a Global Alliance of automotive parts distributors, in 2014 he founded NEXUS Automotive International, which became after a few years the only truly global and progressive “International Trading Group”, with presence in over 145 countries.

Alex Ashmore

Alex Ashmore
VP, BorgWarner and President and General Manager Aftermarket

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Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen

Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen
Partner at Maersk Growth

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Peter is a Partner at Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of the Maersk Group, and has spent more than 22 years within the shipping and logistics industry.   After gaining his Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Business Law, Peter joined the Maersk Group and the majority of his career has been within Corporate Finance, Infrastructure Investments and Commercial Business Development – with more than USD 3Bn invested in infrastructure in developed and emerging markets over the last 15 years. In his leadership positions he has driven change and inspired teams across Africa, Middle East, Europe and Asia. Following 16 years abroad, living in 3 countries and working on projects in +30 countries, Peter returned with his family to his native Denmark to help establish Maersk Growth. In his role as an investor, Peter looks to partner with entrepreneurs and businesses who are shaping the future of trade through transformation of logistics and supply chains. Peter has led a range of the 25+ company investments that Maersk Growth have undertaken since 2018, including Afresh, which is leveraging AI to revolutionise perishable ordering to reduce food waste whilst increasing sales;  and Torch, which pioneers the use of digital and technology to transform short-haul logistics. Peter is passionate about supply chain innovations to reduce food waste and decarbonisation of end-to-end logistics, where Maersk as the first global shipping company pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. He’s a father of three and his other personal passions include making multi-course dinners for friends and family and pruning the garden.
Angel Preston

Angel Preston
Policy Director, Autonomous Vehicle and Internet of Things

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Angel is Policy Director, Autonomous Vehicles and IOT at Intel Corporation.  Prior to joining Intel, as a Director of Safety at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, Angel provided policy expertise to Auto Innovators’ member companies on a range of motor vehicle safety and emerging technology matters, including connected automation, advanced driver assistance systems, and recalls.  She joined Auto Innovators from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and previously served nearly 12 years with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration where she handled agency rulemaking and regulatory issues pertaining to motor vehicle safety standards, fuel economy and defect investigations.  Angel is a former Presidential Management Fellow.  She received her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she served on the Moot Court Honor Board, and holds a M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.  She is a member of the Kentucky Bar.  Angel resides in Baltimore, MD with her husband, John.
Professor Avner Rothschild

Professor Avner Rothschild
Technion- Israel Institute of Technology

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Professors Grader and Rothschild share the prize for inventing a novel water splitting technology that provides hydrogen at unprecedented efficiency, turning the global green hydrogen production from dream into reality. The decision made by the Board of Trustees was based on the great applicability of their research and their expected contribution to the world of renewable energy and transportation.their creative thinking, Scientific in their practical world, vision, idea, and tremendous ambition will allow them to break through in the international race of this important field.
Oren Shoval

Oren Shoval
CEO, VIA

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Oren Shoval is the co-founder and CTO of Via, a fully dynamic, on-demand transit network currently operational in the US, Europe and Okinawa. He is a former strategy business consultant at McKinsey, and has spent 10 years in the Israeli Air Force developing and deploying real-time avionic systems for fighter jets. Oren holds a PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science where he focused on finding simplifying patterns in complex biological phenomena. He also holds an MSc in electrical engineering and a BSc in physics and math.
László Palkovics

László Palkovics
Minister for Innovation and Technology, Hungary

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Prof. Dr. László Palkovics was appointed as Minister of the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology in May 2018. After serving as Minister of State for Higher Education for two years, Mr. Palkovics held the position of Minister of State for Education and Government Commissioner responsible for research and development of autonomous and electric vehicle systems since 2016. He also held senior research positions at the Technical University of Budapest and the College of Kecskemét. Prior to that, he pursued an international, executive level industrial career with Knorr-Bremse. Mr. Palkovics completed his master’s degree and Ph.D. in engineering, specialised on vehicle mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Budapest. Mr. Palkovics has a title as Doctor and he is Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Bob Rolfe

Bob Rolfe
Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

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Bob Rolfe was sworn in on January 19, 2019 by Governor Bill Lee to serve as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The department is responsible for recruiting new businesses and industry to the state, supporting existing companies, expanding economic opportunities across rural Tennessee and boosting the state’s overall economic prosperity. Rolfe has served as TNECD commissioner since March 2017. During Rolfe’s tenure, TNECD has landed 525 projects, which represent more than 85,000 job commitments and $22 billion in capital investment. Of those projects, over 25 percent were the result of foreign direct investment. Under Rolfe’s leadership, Tennessee has secured a number of record-breaking wins. Most recently, in April 2021, Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors, announced a $2.3 billion investment to build a battery cell manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The project represents the largest single capital investment in the state’s history. TNECD also places a major focus on job creation and community development in rural Tennessee. Since 2017, the department has provided more than $405 million in rural and community development funding, while companies have invested $10 billion and committed to create 32,000 new jobs in rural Tennessee communities. Rolfe has more than three decades of experience in business and investment banking in Tennessee. Before joining TNECD, he held the position of CEO of Medical Reimbursements of America, Inc., a company that provides specialty reimbursement solutions to improve financial performance for hospitals and health systems nationwide. Prior to his time at MRA, Rolfe led three private equity-sponsored companies and spent the first 18 years of his career as an investment banker at J.C. Bradford and Co. Rolfe received his executive M.B.A. from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and his B.S. from the University of Alabama’s School of Commerce and Business Administration. He and his wife, Kathy, have been married for nearly 40 years and have three adult children and one grandchild. He is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, where he has served as an elder for two decades.
Prof. James Liao

Prof. James Liao
Academia Sinica, TAIWAN

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For his original and fundamental breakthroughs in microbial synthesis of fuel and chemicals from renewable resources and CO2. The decision made by the Board of Trustees is based on the scientific contribution in the field of synthetic biology. Among his many scientific achievements is the company established by him which produces isobotonol which is used as an alternative fuel to fossil fuels and is used by airlines. Another company is being set up these days. The establishment of the active companies indicates a high level of applicability and breakthrough in this field. A combination of basic research and applied research at a high level indicates a world-leading breakthrough research in the field of bio-energy.
Dror Bin

Dror Bin
CEO, Israel Innovation Authority

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Dror Bin is the CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, an independent public entity that operates for the benefit of the Israeli innovation ecosystem and Israeli economy as a whole. Its role is to nurture and develop Israeli innovation resources, while creating and strengthening the infrastructure and framework needed to support the entire knowledge industry. Prior to his role at the Authority, Dror served as President and CEO of RAD Data Communications, a leading global telecom network solutions company with hundreds of employees at the company's headquarters in Tel Aviv, a manufacturing center in Jerusalem and development center in Beer Sheva as well as dozens of corporate branches around the world. Dror also served in a series of positions for close to a decade at Comverse Technology, the last one as a member of the management team and VP of Global Sales. Following this, Dror served as a venture partner at Carmel Ventures and a chairman at several of its portfolio companies. In addition, Dror served as a partner at Shaldor, a leading management consulting firm in Israel, where he led the development and implementation of business and marketing strategies for major organizations in the financial, consumer, retail, high-tech, banking and other industries. Dror holds two bachelor’s degrees from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology: one in systems information engineering and the other in industrial management, as well as an MBA from Tel Aviv University.
Dave Waiser

Dave Waiser
Founder & CEO of Gett

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24 years of CEO experience in hyper-growth startups and public companies in Silicon Valley and Israel Serial entrepreneur and enterprise sales veteran Gett is his 3rd startup. Successfully exited the first two Enterprise sales annual record of $300 mm in publicly traded enterprise telecom software company
prof. Gideon Grader

prof. Gideon Grader
Technion- Israel Institute of Technology

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The decision made by the Board of Trustees was based on the great applicability of their research and their expected contribution to the world of renewable energy and transportation. their creative thinking, Scientific in theire practical world, vision, idea, and tremendous ambition will allow them to break through in the international race of this important field.
Nir Erez

Nir Erez
Co-founder and CEO, Moovit

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As Co-founder and CEO of Moovit,an Intel-owned leading Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions provider and maker of the #1 urban mobility app, Nir Erez believes data companies will become the operating system – the brains and heart – of smart cities. 

Erez co-founded Moovit with Roy Bick and Yaron Evron in February 2012 with the goal of simplifying urban mobility around the world. The company grew quickly with four rounds of funding totaling $133 million, and was acquired by Intel in May 2020 to join forces with Mobileye. 

Erez has become a thought leader with opinion pieces and interviews published in Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, U.S. News and World Report and LinkedIn, among others.

Nir is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences like Web Summit, NOAH Berlin, Mondial de l'Automobile auto show in Paris, New Mobility World, and others.

Erez is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience leading technology startups. Prior to Moovit, Nir was also the founder and CEO of both ActionBase and Optimal Plus. He is also co-owner and co-founder of Eyron Group which invests in early-stage software companies. Erez graduated from the IDF computer academy (Mamram) and holds a Bsc. in Physics.

Meital Lehavi

Meital Lehavi
Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo for Transportation, Construction and Infrastructure

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Meital Lehavi, Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo for Transportation and Road Safety, serves as a city council member since 2003 and as the deputy mayor since 2009. She is the Chairwoman of Meretz faction in the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipal coalition and Chairwoman of the Meretz Municipal Forum in Israel. She is board member for Ahuzot HaHof, Kiryat Atidim and Habima Theatre. Meital leads the Tel Aviv-Yafo Urban program ״Hashinui_Baderech״, and promotes sustainable transportation and mobility as a service. She is the Chairwoman of the Forum for the Advancement of Transportation Solutions in Gush Dan, a forum for city council members in charge of transportation in Israel center metropolitan. Meital is the initiator of the ״Naim Bsofash״ project that provides urban transportation services during the weekends in 7 municipalities headed by Tel Aviv-Yafo. Meital is the Recipent of the 2016 Green Globe award for her life-long environmental activity