Carl Wolmar Jakob von Uexküll

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Jakob Freiherr von Uexküll
Jakob von Uexkull
Member of the European Parliament
for Germany
In office
Personal details
Born (1944-08-19) 19 August 1944 (age 79)
Uppsala, Sweden
Political partyGerman Green Party
OccupationWriter, lecturer,
former member of the European Parliament

Carl Wolmar Jakob Freiherr[1] von Uexküll (born 19 August 1944) is a writer, lecturer, philanthropist, activist and former politician. He served as a member of the European Parliament from 1987 to 1989 representing the German Green Party. In 1980, Uexkull founded the Right Livelihood Award,[2] and in 2006, he co-founded the World Future Council.[3] Born in Sweden, he holds both Swedish and German citizenship, and is a resident of the United Kingdom.


The son of Gustav Adolf Gösta Baron von Uexküll and Ewa Lewerentz, Jakob von Uexküll was born in Uppsala, Sweden of a noble Baltic German family that left Estonia after World War I. After studying in Sweden and Germany, he won a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

His grandfather Jakob von Uexküll was a biologist and the founder of the study of biosemiotics. His maternal grandfather was renowned Swedish architect Sigurd Lewerentz.[4] Uexküll is married and has three children. He lives with his family in London.

Right Livelihood Award[edit]

The Right Livelihood Award evolved from von Uexküll's opinion that the Nobel Prizes were relatively narrow in scope and usually recognised the work of citizens in industrialised countries. Uexküll first approached the Nobel Foundation with the suggestion that it establish two new awards, one for ecology and one relevant to the lives of the poor majority of the world's population. He offered to contribute financially but his proposal was turned down.

Uexküll then created the Right Livelihood Award and provided an initial endowment by selling his collection of postage stamps for US$1 million; the awards have subsequently attracted additional funding from private individuals enabling the donation of annual prizes worth 150,000 euro.[5] In 1980, the first Right Livelihood Awards were bestowed in a rented hall.[6] Five years later, the invitation to present them in the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) in Stockholm followed. Since 2005 his nephew Ole von Uexküll has taken over the management of the Right Livelihood Award.


The German Green Party has several times nominated Jakob von Uexküll in elections to the European Parliament. As a member of the European Parliament (1987–89), he served on the Political Affairs Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. He was also a member of the Delegation for Relations with the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the Baltic Intergroup.

Uexküll is co-founder of the Other Economic Summit (1984), and founder of the Estonian Renaissance Award (1993). He is a patron of Friends of the Earth International, member of the Council of Governance of Transparency International, and of the Global Commission to Fund the United Nations. He served on the board of Greenpeace, Germany, and the New Economics Foundation, London. He was also a member of the UNESCO Commission on Human Duties and Responsibilities. Uexkull lectures on environment, justice and peace issues. He is also a philatelist with publications including The Early Postal History of Saudi Arabia (London, 2001).[7] In 2007, Uexküll founded the World Future Council.

Honours and prizes[edit]


  1. ^ Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
  2. ^ "Indians win 'alternative Nobel'". BBC. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  3. ^ "World Future Council". Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  4. ^ Ahlin, Janne (1987). Sigurd Lewerentz, Architect: 1885-1975. Lewerentz, Sigurd. Stockholm: Byggförlaget. ISBN 9185194719. OCLC 51471312.
  5. ^ Right Livelihood Award Archived 20 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine History
  6. ^ ibid. Archived 20 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Book Presentation The Early Postal History of Saudi Arabia
  8. ^ World Future Council Archived 8 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine Press Release
  9. ^ Erich Fromm Preis Archived 11 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Laureates
  10. ^ Geary, James (13 November 2005). "A Night for Heroes". Time.
  11. ^ Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana Bearers
  12. ^ Bios Prize Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "ISWI 2015 – ISWI 2015". Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Ehrung für Jakob von Uexküll von schwedischer Regierung". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). 29 August 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2022.

External links[edit]