On October 27, 1962, a soft-spoken naval officer named Vasili Arkhipov single-handedly prevented nuclear war during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Arkhipov's submarine captain, thinking their submarine was under attack by American forces, wanted to launch a nuclear weapon at the ships above. Arkhipov, with the power of veto, said no, averting nuclear war.
On October 27, 2017, 55 years after his courageous actions, the Future of Life Institute (FLI) presented the Arkhipov family with the inaugural Future of Life Award to honour humanity's late hero at a ceremony in London.
Two days after that ceremony, Arkhipov's surviving family members, represented by his daughter Elena and grandson Sergei, were joined onstage in Cambridge by Max Tegmark, president of FLI, and Lord Martin Rees, Professor Huw Price and Jaan Tallinn – the co-founders of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.
Elena said that her father "always thought that he did what he had to do and never consider his actions as heroism. … Our family is grateful for the prize and considers it as a recognition of his work and heroism. He did his part for the future so that everyone can live on our planet."