2023 Genesis Prize awarded to Jewish activists supporting Ukraine

The committee has elected to announce a collective award to Jewish activists and NGOs who chose to act on their Jewish values.

 Genesis Prize Co-Founder Stan Polovets (photo credit: GENESIS PRIZE FOUNDATION)
Genesis Prize Co-Founder Stan Polovets
(photo credit: GENESIS PRIZE FOUNDATION)

Recognizing the extraordinary nature of events dominating the past eleven months, The Genesis Prize Selection Committee has decided to depart from the usual custom of awarding the prize to a single Jewish individual.

Instead, the committee has elected to announce a collective award to Jewish activists and NGOs who chose to act on their Jewish values by standing up for freedom, human dignity, and justice

Natan Sharansky, a trustee of The Genesis Prize Foundation and Stan Polovets, founder and chairman of the foundation, released a statement today, announcing the decision: "The past eleven months have been unlike any previous period in the 10-year history of the Genesis Prize, with war, destruction, and human suffering on a scale unseen since World War II.

"Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives - millions abandoned their homes, jobs, schools, and families. As countries neighboring Ukraine became inundated with refugees and faced disruptions to their energy supply, the economic fallout from the war has been felt throughout the world, impacting tens of millions of lives far beyond the conflict zone.

Natan Sharansky (credit: COURTESY NATAN SHARANSKY)Natan Sharansky (credit: COURTESY NATAN SHARANSKY)

"But there has also been human kindness, compassion, and activism on an unprecedented scale," they added. "Across the world, thousands of individuals and organizations were moved to action – making a moral choice to volunteer, donate money, shelter refugees, and engage in political advocacy" 

"The Genesis Prize Selection Committee bestows the 2023 Genesis Prize upon all Jewish activists and NGOs working to support the Ukrainian people in their quest for freedom, independence, and dignity," said the resolution of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee.

"In doing so, the Committee calls on others – Jews and non-Jews – to get involved in the effort to aid Ukraine’s struggle for independence and help overcome the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the war."  

Genesis Prize Foundation to shine a spotlight on Ukraine

Throughout 2023, The Genesis Prize Foundation will be shining a spotlight on individuals and non-governmental organizations working to support Ukraine, will share their contributions with the global Jewish community and will encourage others to become involved. The Foundation will also continue to make grants to NGOs dedicated to alleviating the suffering in Ukraine, as it has done since the beginning of the war. 

Founder and Chairman of The Genesis Prize Foundation Stan Polovets said: “This year we have witnessed countless Jewish activists, volunteers and organizations rise to the challenges posed by the brutal war in Ukraine.

"The 2023 Genesis Prize honors those who have put their energy, passion, resources, and time into the quest to help Ukraine; those who have selflessly taken on the toil of alleviating Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis and helping its citizens in their fight for freedom, dignity, and independence. Rather than focus on past achievements, the 2023 Prize honors those currently engaged in good work – and encourages others to join this effort.”

Dr. Albert Bourla, the 2022 Genesis Prize Laureate (credit: Joshua Jordan)Dr. Albert Bourla, the 2022 Genesis Prize Laureate (credit: Joshua Jordan)
Trustee of The Genesis Prize Foundation and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Advisory Board Natan Sharansky said: “It gives me great pride to see so many Jewish individuals and organizations around the world working to help Ukraine. This conflict is a clear-cut battle between good and evil, and it is imperative that we, as Jews, take a clear moral stand. This year’s award celebrates those who have made this principled choice and are acting on it.” 

Sharansky added: “International support is critical to making sure Ukraine prevails in this fight. And it is also critical for Jews to continue contributing to this effort, so that we remain true to our foundational values of standing up for freedom, human dignity, and justice.” 

"International support is critical to making sure Ukraine prevails in this fight"

Natan Sharansky

Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, who received the 2022 Genesis Prize for his leadership in developing the COVID-19 vaccine, said: “Jewish tradition teaches us about the sanctity of human life and the importance of repairing the world. As last year’s Laureate, I am honored to pass the torch of the Genesis Prize to such an inspiring group of Jewish activists and organizations committed to saving and improving the lives of brave Ukrainian citizens.”