Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla was honored with Greece’s top civilian award for his efforts in developing a lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine, on April 5. Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou presented Dr. Bourla with the Golden Cross of the Order of the Redeemer, the oldest and the highest decoration of the Greek state, awarded for exceptional service in political, economic and humanitarian areas.
This is the second high-level honor awarded to Dr. Bourla this year. Earlier in January, he was announced as the Laureate of the 2022 Genesis Prize, also known as the “Jewish Nobel.” The Prize recognizes Bourla’s leadership in delivering a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in record time, which saved millions of lives amid the pandemic, as well as his commitment to his Jewish identity and the State of Israel.
President of Israel Isaac Herzog will present the Genesis Prize to Dr. Bourla at a ceremony in Jerusalem on June 29.
Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, Dr. Bourla was raised in a family of Holocaust survivors. His parents were among the few left alive among the city’s ancient Jewish community that was almost completely wiped out by the Nazis. Dr. Bourla asked the Genesis Prize Foundation to direct his $1 million prize award to projects aimed at preserving the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki.
“Two important awards announced this year – Greek and Jewish – attest to the extraordinary achievement of Dr. Bourla and the Pfizer team, which he led during the worst public health crisis in over 100 years,” said Stan Polovets, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “Taking great risks, they gave the world a lifesaving vaccine in record time – months rather than years. We look forward to celebrating Dr. Bourla and this historic achievement in Jerusalem in June.”
As the ninth Genesis Prize Laureate, Dr. Bourla follows filmmaker and philanthropist Steven Spielberg, who was awarded the Genesis Prize in 2021, and legendary human rights activist Natan Sharansky, the 2020 Laureate.
All previous Laureates have re-gifted their award to philanthropic causes about which they are passionate. Since its inception in 2013, The Genesis Prize has raised matching funds, leveraging the annual $1 million award into philanthropic initiatives totaling $45 million, with grants going to 197 nonprofit programs in 31 countries, directly impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people.