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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Holyrood venue for 'rich' awards
Holyrood chamber
The ceremony will take place inside the new Holyrood chamber
An award ceremony for the world's richest people is to be held in the new Scottish Parliament building.

The ceremony will take place next year, when Scotland will become the first country outside the United States to host the event.

Previous winners of the Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy award include Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the Rockefeller family.

Holyrood's Presiding Officer George Reid confirmed the news on Tuesday.

The decision to hold the awards in Scotland was made after talks with the Carnegie Corporation in New York.

'Perfect location'

The corporation was founded by Andrew Carnegie, whose family emigrated to the US from a life of poverty in Scotland in 1848.

Lacking a formal education, he started work in a mill in Pittsburg and later become an industrialist who controlled most of America's iron and steel production.

He then sold his company to JP Morgan for $480m - the equivalent of more than $10bn today - and devoted the rest of life to philanthropy, giving away 90% of his fortune by the time he died.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates's family has been honoured with the award
Mr Reid said that the awards were "focussed on billionaires who use their wealth for the benefit of humanity."

"Andrew Carnegie said that to die rich is to die disgraced," he went on.

"In preliminary discussions with Carnegie representatives in Scotland, we have been looking at how private wealth can help alleviate poverty and empower women in marginalised societies.

"Holyrood provides the perfect location to show that Scotland is both an enterprising and compassionate country."

Mr Reid also described the move as one of the "practical benefits" of the parliament taking part in Tartan Day.

Bronze bust

The awards were inaugurated in 2001 and are held every two years to individuals deemed to have dedicated their private wealth to public good.

Each winner receives a bronze bust of Andrew Carnegie and a bronze medal.

The seven award winners in 2001 included the financier George Soros, the Bill Gates family and the Rockefellers.

Winners last year included Britain's Sainsbury family and Japanese businessman Dr Kazuo Inamori.

A spokeswoman for the parliament admitted that the presence of some of the world's richest people raised security questions.

"There will be security issues that need to be addressed, but that will be done of the next year or so," she said.

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