VIENNA, Austria and FLORENCE, Italy, September 5 /PRNewswire/ --

- Mikhail Gorbachev Will Present the Prize at the WOMEN'S WORLD AWARDS 2008

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The WORLD AWARDS Association, presided by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, today announced the first WOMEN'S WORLD AWARDS winner for 2008: Ingrid Betancourt, 46, the former Columbian presidential candidate, kidnapped in 2002 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and held captive in the Columbian jungle for six and a half years, will receive the WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD 2008.

The award winner, who was chosen directly by the WORLD AWARDS Committee, will receive the honor for her commitment to democratic values, freedom and tolerance. After her rescue in July 2008, Ms. Betancourt has continued to dedicate her life to democracy, freedom and peace, as well as helping the hundreds of people still being held hostage by the FARC.

WORLD AWARDS Founder Georg Kindel, who informed Ms Betancourt about the decision by the committee in Florence, Italy: "For six long years Ingrid Betancourt had to suffer only because she had engaged herself for a more democratic government in her country. Her mission is to improve the life of people suffering from oppression, exploitation and violence. This unwavering commitment has made her a role model for millions."

"I am extremely honored and will humbly accept this award at this year's WOMEN'S WORLD AWARDS gala," Ingrid Betancourt said after being informed about the decision of the WORLD AWARDS Committee. "I see this prize not only as a call to for me to continue to fight for the freedom of the rest of the hostages still held by the FARC in Columbia, but also for all people who are being suppressed against their will - even in their own families. It is my goal to make this world-wide solidarity into a voice for the oppressed, for those who have not been heard." During her captivity faith became Ms. Betancourt's biggest ally: "My hope stemmed from my faith in God. This gave me the strength to overcome all the agony and fear. Every person at some time in their lives reaches a point where a decision has to be made that affects others. It is my goal to make people everywhere realize that these choices must be made in the spirit of humanity."

The WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD 2008 will be presented at the fourth WOMEN'S WORLD AWARDS-Gala on October 26, 2008. Further details regarding the event as well the location, which will be held at a European city this year, will be announced by the President of the WORLD AWARDS, Mikhail Gorbachev at an international press conference shortly.

Since 2004 extraordinary women have been honored with the WOMEN'S WORLD AWARDS at a glamorous television gala. Among the past award winners are Benazir Bhutto, Queen Noor of Jordan, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, Bianca Jagger, Donatella Versace, Catherine Deneuve and Claudia Schiffer. Over 500 million people from around the world were able to see and hear about the last gala ceremony in New York via TV, print media, radio and the Internet. The WOMEN'S WORLD AWARDS today are recognized internationally as the most prestigious women's award in the world.


For further information regarding the WOMEN'S WORLD AWARDS please visit our website at or contact:

WORLD AWARDS MEDIA GmbH Europe, Georg Kindel, Marc-Aurel-Strasse 10, A-1010, Vienna, Austria, Phone +43-1-533-32-55-0, mailto:

WORLD AWARDS MEDIA GmbH Europe, Georg Kindel, Marc-Aurel-Strasse 10, A-1010, Vienna, Austria, Phone +43-1-533-32-55-0,