About Us

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.

The Foundation is dedicated to building on Sir Arthur Clarke’s multidisciplinary and inspiring legacy.  The Foundation draws its inspiration and activities from Sir Arthur’s wide range of visionary, creative and constructive imagination.  At one extreme is Clarke the physicist who, at age 28, envisioned a future where geosynchronous platforms—extra-terrestrial relays—could be used for global communication. At the other, is Clarke as a visionary humanist and one of the most inspiring and entertaining science fiction writers of all time. His relentless and profound faith in humanity’s ability to meet the challenges of sustaining our planet and at the same time inspiring us to elevate our imaginations and horizons to the unknown.

Arthur C. Clarke was known not only for his science fiction novels such as Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but also for his scientific publications on space, energy, and the oceans. He is perhaps most famous for envisioning a global network of geosynchronous telecommunications satellites in 1945, developing low altitude radar, conceptualizing the “space elevator” (an elevator from Earth’s surface to orbit), and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

The work of the Foundation is to continue and recognize the seminal works and ideas of one of the leading thinkers and more extensive writers of science fiction and science fact of the 20th century.

The Foundation was announced through a White House press release at the inaugural celebration of World Communications Year 1983, celebrated on December 16, 1982. Dr. John McLucas, former Secretary of the Air Force and former FAA Administrator, served as the first Chairman of the Foundation; Dr. Joseph N. Pelton, Founder of the Society of Satellite Professionals International and an Officer of the Intelsat Organization, served as the first Vice Chairman; and Fred Durant, Assistant Director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, served as the first Executive Director. Ambassador deAlwis and Counselor Chitty of the Sri Lankan embassy played a key role in the Foundation’s creation.

In September 1983, at the World Communications Year celebrations held at the United Nations, Arthur C. Clarke agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the Clarke Foundation of the United States. He served in this capacity until his death in March 2008.

2012 Arthur C. Clarke Awards

The Arthur C. Clarke Awards event for 2012 occurs on April 12th and includes the following.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Vint Cerf, Vice President & Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
Mr. Cerf is an American computer scientist recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet.” Among his myriad awards and recognitions, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Presidential Freedom Award.

Innovator Award

Pradman Kaul, CEO, Hughes Communications
Mr. Kaul is a leader in technology development in the satellite industry authoring many patents and technical writings. He is a recipient of the IEEE Third Millennium medal, was inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) Hall of Fame and named “Satellite Executive of the Year 2008” by Via Satellite.

Advancement of Imagination in Society Award

Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D. and author, continually impacts audiences worldwide with motivational and inspirational speeches influencing the development of education, creativity and innovation. Among his many recognitions, he was named one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’ and received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.


Prior Awardees

2009: Steven Squyres, for pioneering work in the exploration of the planet Mars

2009: Ray Kurzweil, for lifetime achievement as an inventor and futurist in computer-based technologies

2007/2008: Peter Diamandis, for pioneering work in the promotion of personal spaceflight (Cosmos Club)

2007/2008: David W. Thompson, for visionary leadership in creative space systems and missions (Cosmos Club)

2006: Robert T. Bigelow, for pioneering development of versatile space habitats (Cosmos Club)

2006: Walter Cronkite, for bringing the wonders of space into our lives (Cosmos Club)

2005: Dr. Brad Edwards, for creating a company and taking the lead in the design of a space elevator that could move cargo to the Clarke Orbit from the Earth’s Surface, 2005 (Cosmos Club)

2005: Ben Bova, Noted Science Fiction Writer (Cosmos Club)

2004: Claude Goumy, former Chairman of the Board of Marconi-Matra, founder of EADS (Cosmos Club)

2003: D.K. Sachdev and Joseph Campanella, for designing and implementing the world’s first audio broadcasting satellite (Kreeger Art Musuem, 2003)

2003: Robert Berry, Chairman of the Board, Space Systems, Loral (Kreeger Art Museum)

2002: Santiago Astrain, first Director General of Intelsat (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)