Walk21 took the unprecedented decision to recognise the extraordinary achievements of 4 key individuals to the Walking Movement at Walk21Vienna.
Daniel Sauter, from Mobility Research based in Zurich, has used past Walk21 events to prepare the International Walking Charter which was published in 2006 and has continued to be instrumental in securing political commitment and giving a framework for policy development. More recently he has used our events to coordinate a review of the way walking is measured and led the team to publish the first International Walking Data Standard at Walk21 Vienna.
Jacqueline Kennedy, from Canada Walks based in Toronto, has led the sustained development of the International Walk to School movement for many years. She is perhaps best known for enthusing her many contacts to smash the Walking World Record during our Walk21 event in 2007 but has been instrumental too in setting up the main can-do national body in Canada - Canada Walks.
Ole Thorson, from The International Federation of Pedestrians based in Barcelona, has spent more than 45 years tirelessly campaigning and promoting walking as a way to better mobility, safety and sustainability. He helped set up The Federation for European Pedestrian Associations; has travelled extensively as a transport professor teaching the importance of walking; and continues to represent the interests of the walking community at several international forums.
Rodney Tolley, an academic now based in Buffalo, was one of only very few people researching, publishing and teaching about walking back when Walk21 started in 2000. He has ensured a high level of quality and consistency at all the Walk21 annual conferences significantly helping ensure the movement is taken seriously across many disciplines and continues to lap the world most years promoting the importance of walking to dozens of communities.
Each winner received a specially commissioned bronze statue based on the original ‘Walking Man’ by Alberto Giacometti. The original sculpture is a UNESCO listed treasure and appropriately is often described as ‘ Capturing the decisive moment where a man reveals an internal strength which stems from his own energy and momentum.’ UNESCO adds ‘Alberto Giacometti’s walking man does not ask himself any questions; he simply comes from somewhere and is on his way elsewhere. His gaze fixed on the horizon, he strides decisively, forward in order to discover, to understand, as if he has a goal to pursue. With an awakened conscience, he travels through time to observe the world. His feet, anchored in the ground, connect him inevitably to the earth with which he is one. It is the whole body which here moves through an oblique force, towards a future to be created”. The statue is also known colloquially as 'The Adante’ - sometimes used in music to describe 'a passage having its mark’ which further confirms the appropriateness to use it as a symbol of the qualities that the four award winners all have.
Jim Walker and Bronwen Thornton said “ We dont want to feel, by announcing these four winners, that there are others in the walking movement who have not made a contribution, but we felt that the global impact of these particular four extraordinary people could not be left another moment without being recongised. We are delighted to have finally found a moment when they are all together, at Walk21 Vienna, to give them the thanks and international recognition they rightly deserve”.