Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO Jeff Guyton personally handed over the first “Mazda Make Things Better Award” yesterday to Antti Junkkari, a Finnish medical student, during a ceremony at the Geneva Motor Show. Mazda set up the €10,000 prize, which reflects the carmaker’s challenger spirit, to support projects that use modern tools of advocacy to improve people’s everyday lives. Junkkari, 23, will use the funds for a radio campaign aimed at preventing firearms violence in Africa.
“Antti Junkkari’s commitment, dedication and professionalism truly impressed the jury,” said Guyton. “We think that his outstanding initiative will help improve the day-to-day situation for many Africans. And the project is perfectly in tune with Mazda’s spirit of challenging convention to make things better.”
Mazda’s official involvement in the project, called “Raising Awareness on Small Arms through Interactive Radio Programmes”, begins in April when the company sponsors the initial preparatory trip to Zambia. Following this, Junkkari plans to use the award money to coordinate local groups and produce radio programmes. Gun violence is a major problem in Zambia and other parts in Africa where the weapons are widely available, and the radio offers the best means to communicate with and educate people on the subject.
“Mazda is providing crucial support for this project,” said Junkkari, “And I am very much looking forward to our collaboration in the months to come. We are going to do some genuinely good work together.”
The annual “Mazda Make Things Better Award” was launched last October in Warsaw at the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, an annual forum bringing together Nobel Peace Prize recipients with young leaders of tomorrow to exchange ideas on how to make the world a better place. The award was conceived by Mazda together with the Lech Walesa Institute’s Civic Academy, an initiative providing young influencers with the opportunity to voice their ideas to decision-makers. More than 120 applicants submitted award proposals at the summit.