On 20th November 1996, the 50th anniversary of the founding of UNICEF, Peter and Lesley Adamson jointly received the UNICEF UK Anniversary Award for Services to Children at a celebration held at St James’ Palace, London.
The citation for the award reads:
“In a pantheon of UNICEF heroes, few would deny James P Grant the absolute pride of place. Others – Maurice Pate, Harry Labouisse, Dick Heyward – would also feature highly. But somewhere among these one further name would have to appear – that of the writer, presenter, television producer and founder of “New Internationalist” magazine – Peter Adamson.
Peter began working with Jim Grant in 1980 and was responsible for writing the annual “State of the World’s Children” report, UNICEF’s first and continuing flagship publication, for the 15 years to 1995, while Lesley, his wife, was responsible for its design, production and distributions, for co-ordinating translations in more than 60 languages for 100 countries and for press materials to all countries.
In 1988 they wrote and produced “Facts for Life”, a summary of the ‘basic health knowledge which all families have a right to know”, which has now run to over 15 million copies in over 200 languages and is part of the school curriculum and health worker training in over 50 countries. From 1993 until 1996, Peter and Lesley were responsible also for “The Progress of Nations”, ranking the nations of the world by their achievements in health, nutrition, education, family planning and progress for women. This too has become an eagerly awaited, influential annual advocacy tool, a second flagship.
Peter and Lesley have done other work for the UN and for the development community – but nothing, for sustained global influence and impact, for its quality, for its authority, can match their work for UNICEF. Based in Oxford, members of the UK Committee and close personal friends of many in the field, they richly deserve the Anniversary Award.”