The Monster star was presented with the Crystal Award for her work to eradicate AIDS with her foundation the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project during the ceremony in Davos, Switzerland.
Speaking at the event, Theron said: "This is a great honour. There is a pretty hefty brain trust in this room right now, I feel like I'm getting smarter by osmosis. In all sincerity, I feel incredibly honoured to receive the Crystal Award tonight.
"I don't take for granted the opportunities that are awarded to me as an entertainer. I feel a certain sense of responsibility to do something meaningful with these opportunities as an artist in the spotlight."