The King Albert I Memorial Foundation was founded in 1993 in honor of King Albert I of Belgium (1875–1934), a noted alpinist and mountain climber. The Foundation's purpose is to honor persons or institutions whose activities in relation to the world's mountains have had an outstanding and lasting impact.
This year, the Foundation's awards for 2004 were presented on September 11 in the Santa Maria church in Pontresina, Switzerland. The recipients were the Swiss Alpine Museum, Berne, Switzerland; Professor Peter Rieder of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland; Professor Lawrence Hamilton of Vermont; publisher Michel Guérin of Chamonix, France; and Stephen Venables of England, a mountain climber and writer.
The Swiss Alpine Museum, founded in 1905 by the Berne chapter of the Swiss Alpine Club, is the only museum devoted to the Swiss Alps. It features permanent and special exhibitions, cultural events related to mountains, and pedagogic and information services. The award cited the museum's uniqueness as a center of alpine culture and nature that imparts the significance of mountains to a broad public. Its particular focus on young people and its continually expanding collections and information services were mentioned as being of particular importance.
Professor Peter Rieder has graciously offered his services on numerous occasions as a reviewer of articles submitted to Mountain Research and Development. MRD greatly depends on the expertise of leading professionals such as Professor Rieder to ensure the quality of its peer-reviewed Research section. Peter Rieder, a Swiss national, is currently professor of agricultural economics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where he specializes in national and international agricultural policy and markets. He has undertaken numerous missions on behalf of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation focusing on mountain areas in developing countries, and has served as an advisor to the Swiss government and a member of national commissions concerned with agricultural policy. Professor Rieder's award cited his deep commitment to mountain populations, their agricultural systems, and their survival in a rapidly changing world.
Professor Lawrence Hamilton is a member of MRD's International Editorial Advisory Board, where his contributions have ranged from general advice and peer reviews to collaboration as a guest editor. His experience and expertise in forest watershed management have been of great service to the world's mountain regions. In 1991 Lawrence Hamilton became a leading advocate of mountain protected areas in the World Conservation Union (IUCN), where he edited a regular newsletter on mountain protected areas and served as Vice Chair for Mountains, heading the Mountain Protected Areas subcommission. He was one of a small group of scientists who successfully lobbied to place mountains on the global agenda at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. This initiative led directly to Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 on mountains, and has done much to keep mountain issues on the international development agenda. Professor Hamilton's award cited his fundamental role in conservation of mountain areas worldwide, in connection with sustainable development of mountain communities.
MRD is proud to note the achievements of a Swiss institution and of 2 individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the world's mountains and to this journal. We heartily congratulate the Swiss Alpine Museum and Professors Rieder and Hamilton on their awards!