BOG 2021: African Virologist Wins BMI Prize

Dr. John N. Nkangasong recognized for exceptional public health leadership in region and beyond
20 October 2021
BOG 2021: African Virologist Wins BMI Prize
Dr. John N. Nkangasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the winner of this year’s BMI Prize

Dr. John N. Nkangasong, a Cameroonian virologist who serves as Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) was awarded the Boris Mints Institute Prize for Global Challenges 2021 this week. The $100,000  prize is awarded annually to individuals creating viable solutions to global challenges by the Boris Mints Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to Global Challenges (BMI) at Tel Aviv University.


Nkangasong was recognized for his outstanding leadership in the battle against COVID-19 in Africa and his impact on global health policy. He is also credited with successfully bringing vaccine accessibility to the forefront of the global health agenda—a critical and timely need.


Saving Countless Lives

At a virtual prize ceremony, BMI President and Founder Dr. Boris Mints congratulated the 2021 prize laureate: “Dr. Nkangasong’s efforts in the management of the pandemic, his public actions towards finding practical and applicable solutions to these huge challenges helped save countless lives in the region. At the outbreak of the virus, Dr. Nkangasong convened an unprecedented meeting of the African Union’s 54 health ministers to discuss and adopt a joint continental strategy – an example of a vital move for the region. I’d like to thank him for his invaluable achievements.”


A world-renowned virologist, Nkangasong is the first director of the Africa CDC, established by the African Union in 2017. During the pandemic, he was appointed the World Health Organization envoy to African countries, a position he still holds. He was recently selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.


Speaking live from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Nkangasong thanked the BMI leadership for his award. “It is my honor and joy to accept the BMI prize for 2021 from TAU. I dedicate this award to the staff of the Africa CDC, for their resilience and ability to stay on and fight this pandemic and other epidemics we faced. Thank you for the opportunity to honor African citizens through me with this prize.” Dr. Nkangasong noted that he will use the prize money to support the people of people of his native Cameroon with ongoing challenges in the region.


WATCH the BMI Prize 2021 Ceremony here:


Creating a World of Collaboration

Prof. Itai Sened, Dean of the Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences and Head of BMI, thanked Dr. Nkangasong for accepting the prize and becoming part of the BMI family. “We make sure that with every new winner, we create a world of collaboration. The BMI has been very active in Africa, but this is a great opportunity for us to do a whole lot more and a whole lot better. We’re honored to have you with us.”


The BMI was founded in 2015 by Dr. Boris Mints at TAU’s Department of Public Policy in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Its goal is to encourage research and development of innovative policy solutions that bring about positive change in the world. The BMI Prize, launched in 2017, is bestowed annually upon an exceptional individual who has devoted his or her research and academic life to developing a solution to a strategic global challenge.

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