BOG 2019: Dan David Prize Awarded

President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin: “Gaining knowledge across boundaries”
17 June 2019
From left: Prof. Kenneth Pomeranz; Prof. Sanjay Subrahmanyam; Ms. Christina Figueres; TAU Honorary Fellow Gabriela David; Mr. Ariel David; Prof. Michael Ignatieff; and Christophe Deloire (Reporters Without Borders). Photo: Israel Hadari

Five outstanding laureates across three categories were honored for their diverse achievements at the 18th annual Dan David Prize Award Ceremony. The international award, endowed by the Dan David Foundation in 2001 and headquartered at Tel Aviv University, recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms. It aims to foster universal values of excellence, creativity, justice, democracy and progress and to promote the scientific, technological and humanistic achievements that advance and improve our world. Prize money is granted annually in the fields chosen for three time dimensions – past, present and future. This year, recipients shared $3 million in prize money, 10% of which went to scholarships for students in Israel and abroad.


President of Israel Reuven Rivlin congratulated the Dan David Foundation for “18 years of realizing the late Dan David’s vision of recognizing outstanding contributions to humanity. Dan’s legacy was to gain knowledge across boundaries, imagine new possibilities and to turn this imagination into reality,” said Rivlin. “This is the freedom that serves as the basis of excellence and innovation at Israeli universities.”


President Reuven Rivlin


Outgoing TAU President Joseph Klafter said “the ability of the Prize to spotlight past lessons, current issues and future directions keeps it fresh and appealing each and every year.”


TAU Governor Ariel David, Dan David Foundation Director, said, “One of my father’s goals in establishing this prize was to encourage the brightest minds in all fields of human endeavor. ​It was important for him that this recognition come from here, from Israel, and from Tel Aviv University in particular,” said David, who also serves as TAU Global Campaign Cabinet member. “He wanted to create a connection between the great minds of the world – the laureates of the Prize – and the great minds here in Israel.”                                                                                                               TAU Governor Ariel David


Mr. David commended Prof. Klafter on his support for the Prize over the years and welcomed incoming TAU President Ariel Porat as the new Chairman of the Prize.


The ceremony was attended by senior university officials, diplomats, TAU governors and Friends, and the wider TAU community. 


Dan David Prize winners


Past Dimension – Macro History:


Prof. Kenneth Pomeranz of the University of Chicago, USA, was recognized for his comprehensive work on the reciprocal influences of state, society and economy, and on the relative advancement of societies over the world; and for his most notable book, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy, which analyzes the factors that contributed to the industrial growth beginning in the late 18th century in Northwest Europe compared to East Asia and the rest of the world.


Prof. Sanjay Subrahmanyam of the University of California, Los Angeles, was recognized for his exceptionally prolific work, focusing mainly on the encounters of Asians, Europeans and Americans, indigenous and colonial, in the early modern period; for his multidisciplinary studies, covering aspects of economic, political, cultural and intellectual history, as well as historiography and the history of representations; and for his fundamental, highly influential contribution to the methodology of macro history.


Present Dimension – Defending Democracy:


Prof. Michael Ignatieff, Canada/Hungary, was recognized for his lasting advocacy of democracy over the world, as a reporter, as a champion of human rights and as one of the first to warn against the rise of radical ethnic nationalism; and in particular for his leadership as the President and Rector of the Central European University, standing on the front lines against the campaign to stifle academic freedom, free expression and pluralism in Europe.


Reporters Without Borders, France, an international organization, represented by Christophe Deloire, was recognized for helping to sustain the freedom of the press across national boundaries, for monitoring government policies regarding the press and other media, and for providing material, financial and psychological support to journalists and newspapers that are discriminated against and persecuted by the authorities.


Future Time Dimension – Combatting Climate Change


Ms. Christina Figueres, Costa Rica/UK, Global Optimism, was recognized for her singular leadership in chairing the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, culminating in the Paris Agreement in 2015, and for her outstanding efforts for its ratification in 2016, resulting in an unprecedented, broad international consensus in the world’s efforts to combat climate change.



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