The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation honors three 2016 winners of the Arthur C. Clarke Awards

November 29, 2016

Washington, D.C., November 29, 2016, 5 p.m. ET – The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation today honored three outstanding winners of the 2016  Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The Clarke Award for Innovation went to Jeffrey Bezos, President, CEO and Chairman of and Mars quest pioneer.  The award for Impact of the Imagination went to Bran Ferren, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Applied Minds.  The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, accepted by NASA Associate Administrator, Richard Lightfoot, Jr.

In addition, Foundation Chair Walda W. Roseman launched the Arthur C. Clarke Centenary Celebratory year, outlining the Foundation’s plans for an intergenerational program aimed at unleashing the power of imagination to address our planet’s more intractable challenges. The program will include on an on-going basis Clarke Conversations on Imagination addressing those challenges, a Young Leaders program focused on STEAM applied to local service and powered by imagination, youth challenges, and intergenerational conversations on leading for tomorrow. The major launch of the intergenerational Imagination program will take place the day of Clarke Centenary Celebration this time next year.

“This year’s Arthur C. Clarke honorees demonstrate by their seminal accomplishments the power of what imagination routed in expertise and determination can accomplish for humankind,”  Ms. Roseman said. “We are thrilled to have been able to bring together three extraordinary awardees and to hear them share with us their visions and plans for the future. It seemed especially fitting that the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation was at the same time able to launch the Clarke Centenary Celebratory Year and announce our plans to encourage greater embrace by organizations and individuals of imagination intelligently applied as a power tool for problem-solving.  We are excited about celebrating Sir Arthur’s 100th birthday this time next year by introducing our intergenerational program for imaginative leadership.”

The Arthur C. Clarke Honorees

In the category of Innovation, the Foundation selected Jeffrey P. Bezos, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the board. Bezos founded in 1994. Amazon’s mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. Amazon offers low prices and fast delivery on millions of items, designs and builds the bestselling Kindle hardware, and empowers companies and governments in more than 190 countries around the world with the leading Cloud-computing infrastructure through its Amazon Web Services offering. Bezos is also the founder of aerospace company Blue Origin, which is working to lower the cost and increase the safety of spaceflight so that humans can better continue exploring the solar system.

Mr. Bezos graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University in 1986, and was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year.

For Impact of the Imagination, the Foundation honored Bran Ferren, co-founder and chief executive officer of Applied Minds. One of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” Ferren is a master of the arts and sciences. Equal parts artist/designer and scientist/engineer, he is an expert on leveraging curiosity and creativity to inspire innovation. His 2014 TED Talk entitled “To create for the ages, let’s combine art and engineering” ( has been translated into 24 languages and viewed a million times. Mr. Ferren is Co-founder, Co-chairman, and Chief Creative Officer of Applied Minds, a company that for 15 years has provided advanced technology, creative design, and consulting services to both government and commercial clients.

Previous to Applied Minds, Ferren held various leadership positions, including President of Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development, Disney’s creative design and engineering division. In his role as President, he advised the CEO and senior leadership on emerging technology opportunities and led the development of critical innovations for divisions such as ABC Television. Prior to that, he was president of Associates & Ferren, a company acquired by Disney.

Ferren is a prolific inventor, named on more than 550 domestic and foreign patent applications and more than 220 issued patents. He developed numerous successful technologies, designs, experiences, and innovations used in consumer products, theme parks, television, and film, arena concerts, buildings, aerospace, command centers, exhibits, and motor vehicles.

For Lifetime Achievement, the Foundation recognized the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA). NASA has been confounding, amazing, and inspiring us since its formation as an independent United States agency in 1958. Within months of its creation, it began to conduct space missions, both human and robotic, and aeronautics research. Since that time, NASA has provided the U.S. and the world with consistent and imaginative leadership with its exploration of our universe and beyond and its advances in understanding the environmental conditions of our world. It has consistently contributed to the science and technology that benefits our lives on Earth, while seeking to understand what livable vistas might exist beyond.

NASA has served as that rare organization that dares to imagine, puts science and technology behind its imaginings, and converts what might have appeared to be science fiction into scientific advancement. What it is currently accomplishing in interplanetary exploration, with the kind of precision that has propelled Juno into Jupiter’s challenging atmosphere, for example, is no doubt only an impressive beginning for understanding the building blocks of the Earth and the universe. NASA is a leader in solar and earth sciences, space astronomy and astrophysics, life sciences and astrobiology, and aeronautics. NASA has for many years also valued improving the conditions of our Earth inhabitants, challenging and motivating children and students to imagine themselves as astronauts, engineers, teachers, and more. NASA has risen above international politics and created peaceful and effective collaborations in space with many nations, as well as with private industry. NASA is an extraordinary example of sustained excellence and accomplishment that touches virtually every part of humanity.

Accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of NASA was Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Jr. He became the Agency’s highest ranking civil servant in September 2012, reflecting a distinguished career of more than 30 years. He has served as the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Agency’s largest field installation, critical to NASA’s space operations, exploration and science missions. Lightfoot received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1986 from the University of Alabama.

The Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes “an individual, a group or an entity that exemplifies the values and accomplishments of Sir Arthur’s life. The award honors substantial and enduring contributions that relate the sciences and arts in meeting the challenges of contemporary life and the needs oftomorrow.” Past Clarke Lifetime Achievement winners are U.S. government and national space industry leader the Hon. Norman Augustine, former Eutelsat CEO Giuliano Berretta, theoretical physicist and mathematician Dr. Freeman Dyson, professor and technical consultant Fred Ordway III, Google Chief Evangelist Vinton G. Cerf, inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil, CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite, science fiction writer Ben Bova; former Matra Marconi Space board chairman Claude Goumy; retired Space Systems Loral chairman Robert Berry; and Santiago Astrain, the first Intelsat director general, and Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works.

The Arthur C. Clarke Innovation winners include Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb and O3b, Skybox Imaging, for groundbreaking space imaging which has embraced small satellite technology, Mark Dankberg, co-founder, chairman and CEO of ViaSat, Hughes Network Systems CEO Pradman Kaul, SpaceX founder and entrepreneur Elon Musk, Cornell University professor and Mars Rover program team leader Steven Squyres, Bigelow Aerospace’s Robert Bigelow, for leading the way for private sector entrepreneurs willing to advance space exploration and activity with minimum reliance on government programs, Dr. Brad Edwards, for leading in the design of a space elevator to move cargo to the Clarke Orbit from the Earth’s surface, and D.K. Sachdev and Dr. S. Joseph Campanella, for designing and implementing the world’s first audio broadcasting (Worldspace) satellite.

The Arthur C. Clarke Imagination in Service to Society/Impact Award was created in 2012. Last year’s winner was Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, and environmental activist. In 2014 the winner was noted author and futurist Larry Niven. In 2013, Ursula Le Guin, author of science fiction and fantasy Works for adults and children, was honored. Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation, was selected by the Foundation as its first-ever Imagination honoree.

The 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Awards were presented before an invited audience at the 1776 Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

For information, contact Foundation Secretary Scott Chase at or 301/879-1613.

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation was established in 1983 in Washington, D.C., as part of World Communications Year celebrations at the United Nations, an international event sponsored by the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Foundation was created to recognize and promote the extraordinary contributions of Arthur C. Clarke to the world, and to promote the use of space and telecommunications technology for the benefit of humankind. It has gone on to promote the Sir Arthur’s greatest forward-leaning legacy – the power of imagination applied through the sciences and technology and the arts. The Foundation draws its inspiration and activities from Sir Arthur’s wide range of visionary, creative and constructive imagination. In so doing, it spawned the creation five years ago of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California, San Diego, and will be launching its new inter-generational initiatives on imaginative leadership as part of the Arthur C. Clarke Centenary.