About the Right Livelihood Award & Right Livelihood College

Right Livelihood Award Laureates - recipients of 'the Alternative Nobel Prize'


The Right Livelihood College Campus Santa Cruz is a partnership between UC Santa Cruz and the Right Livelihood Award Foundation. Housed at the Institute for Social Transformation, and affiliated with the Kresge College Common Ground Center, the Right Livelihood College Campus Santa Cruz links faculty and students with 'Alternative Nobel Prize' winners for research and education about proven solutions to the world's most pressing global problems. Please contact us if you would like to get involved.

What is the Right Livelihood Award?

'The Alternative Nobel Prize'

The Right Livelihood Award (RLA), widely known as ‘the Alternative Nobel Prize’, is given annually to 4 people or organizations who provide practical solutions to the root causes of global problems in human rights and the environment. There are now over 170 Laureates in 70 countries, including Wangari Maathai, Wes Jackson, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben / 350.org, Amy Goodman, and David Suzuki. Please visit the Right Livelihood Award Foundation website to see a full list of Laureates organized by dateby location, and by topic

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation is based in Stockholm, Sweden with an office in Geneva, Switzerland and has consultative status with the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council.


Right Livelihood College

A global network of scholar-activists dedicated to social transformation

The Right Livelihood College (RLC) was created to link the activism of the RLA Laureates with the research, teaching and service of universities. In 2013, UC Santa Cruz's Kresge College Common Ground Center become the first RLC campus in North America. In 2018, UC Santa Cruz's relationship with the Right Livelihood Foundation grew, and now the partnership is based at the Institute for Social Transformation while also remaining affiliated with the Kresge College Common Ground Center.

Background of the Right Livelihood College

Disseminating and strengthening knowledge, wisdom, and skills for a positive future

The Right Livelihood College (RLC) is a global capacity-building initiative of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation and universities. Founded in 2009, the RLC aims to make the knowledge of the Laureates accessible to all and, by linking young academics and civil society organizations with the Laureates, hopes to make their “winning ideas” succeed and multiply. The College operates as a global network of campuses at universities, initiated at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (campus 2009-2014).

  • University of California, Santa Cruz - Institute for Social Transformation 
  • University of Bonn, Germany - Center for Development Research
  • University of Lund, Sweden - Sustainability Studies
  • University of Austral, Valdivia, Chile - Institute of Economics
  • National University of Cordoba, Argentina - Faculty of Psychology
  • University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Faculty of Anthropology
  • University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria - Faculty of Gender and Conflict Studies
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India
  • School for Wellbeing Studies & Research, Thailand
  • Global Campus For Human Rights
  • University of Zurich, Right Livelihood Centre, Switzerland
 The Right Livelihood College is a network of 9 campuses at universities around the globe.

Right Livelihood College Fellows

Every Right Livelihood Laureate is automatically a Fellow of the Right Livelihood College. The role of the Fellow is to be the principal source of supply of learning resources through engagement in activities of education, scientific research, and practical activities that share and upscale their work.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris. The Right Livelihood College (RLC) has gained affiliate membership status with the UNESCO-based International Association of Universities (IAU).The IAU recognizes the key role higher education plays in the overall process of achieving sustainable development, by pursuing the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge. The Right Livelihood Colleges, including its researchers and students, will add substantial value to this forum for innovation, shared and mutual learning, and joint action.


The RLC has four main goals:

  1. Making the knowledge of Laureates accessible to all, the general public as well as individuals and academics with the potential to make the ‘winning ideas’ of Laureates succeed and multiply. 
  2.  Actively linking the most excellent educational institutions with the Laureates, thus providing researchers and students unparalleled access to primary data and case studies of eminent civil society activists and movements.
  3. Connecting the global community of Laureates to help release synergies, scale tested know-how and create the critical mass to help bring their common goals forward.
  4. Providing a hub and an incubator for promoting and multiplying the most successful solutions to urgent global problems through the development of information and education activities including web-based learning materials, meetings, networking and internship and research scholarship programmes.

What is Right Livelihood?

“The idea of 'right livelihood' is an ancient one. It embodies the principle that each person should follow an honest occupation, which fully respects other people and the natural world. It means being responsible for the consequences of our actions and taking only a fair share of the earth's resources. In every generation, there are groups of people and individuals around the globe who valiantly uphold these principles of right livelihood, often working in the face of adversity. The Right Livelihood Award exists to honour and support such people.” - The Right Livelihood Award website