Anote Tong

2019 Recipient


His Excellency Anote Tong served as the fourth President of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Ki-ri-bas) from 2003 to 2015.

With one of the lowest carbon-emission footprints in the world, Kiribati has often described by President Tong as a “frontline country” that has been among the first to experience dramatic climate change impacts, especially in the form of rising sea levels. President Tong has worked diligently to build worldwide awareness of this potentially devastating problem, and has been a strong advocate for development of international agreements and solutions.

As an extraordinary measure to set an example for the rest of the world, President Tong created the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world with a size of 158,000 square miles, which was inscribed as a United Nations World Heritage site in 2008.

President Tong was born in 1952 on Fanning Island (also known as Tabuaeran) in the Line Islands and was a member of the Kiribati House of Parliament from the constituency of Maiana Island in the central Kiribati group. Educated in New Zealand and in England at the University of Canterbury and the London School of Economics respectively, President Tong holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Economics degrees.