Journalists, US cancer researchers and cellist Yo-Yo Ma win Dan David Prize

Winners will share $1 million in each time-dimension category of Past, Present and Future.

yo-yo ma cellist 88 (photo credit: )
yo-yo ma cellist 88
(photo credit: )
Two leading American cancer researchers, a well-known cellist and four journalists are the winners of the 2006 Dan David Prize and will share $1 million in each time-dimension category of Past, Present and Future. The David Prize board announced the names on Friday at a press conference in Paris. The Dan David Prize is a joint international enterprise endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University. The awards will be conferred upon the recipients in a ceremony at TAU on May 21 in the prize's fifth annual ceremony. Yo-Yo Ma, the world renowned cellist and a native of Paris who lives in the US, will receive the prize for the Past Time Dimension in the field of "Preserving Cultural Heritage." He is cited for his work as founder (in 1998) and artistic director of the Silk Road Project, which has brought back to life the music, ideas, arts and culture found in the nations along the Silk Road trade route. The project has opened up the study of the ebb and flow of ideas and traditions among different cultures along the Silk Road, the routes that crisscrossed Eurasia - from China to the Mediterranean - from the first millennium BCE through the middle of the second millennium CE. Four courageous journalists, noted for their pursuit of democracy and human rights in troubled regions of the world, share the 2006 prize for the Present Time Dimension in the field of "Journalists of the Print Media." They are Magdi Allam of Italy, deputy editor of Corriere della Sera and Arab and Islamic affairs commentator; Monica Gonzalez of Chile, a leading investigative reporter ; Adam Michnik of Poland, a journalist and activist; and Goenawan Mohamad of Indonesia, a poet, writer, journalist and free press activist. Allam, born in Egypt and one of the leading journalists in Italy today, is an author as well as a prolific journalist and editor. He has consistently spoken out against extremism and in favor of tolerance. Allam is one of the leaders in the fight for coexistence between cultures, asserting, "a positive dialogue with moderate Islam is both possible and necessary." Gonzalez has been fighting for human rights and democracy in Chile and all of South America for more than 30 years. She is awarded the prize for her persistent struggle for human rights and democracy and for her consistent achievements in investigative reporting, book writing and, more recently, publishing. Michnik is cited for being the journalist most associated with the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the rise of freedom in Eastern Europe. He is a significant political activist, author, intellectual and editor. Mohamad is awarded the prize for having spent the last 30 years as a poet, writer and journalist fighting for press freedom and the advancement of independent journalism. He continues to write columns, poetry, experimental theater and prose and has received a number of awards for his persistent courage and vision. Two leading American researchers, Dr. John Mendelsohn, president of the University of Texas's MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Prof. Joseph Schlessinger, chairman of pharmacology at the Yale School of Medicine, share the prize for the Future Time Dimension in the field of "Cancer Therapy" for their seminal research leading to innovative modalities of cancer treatment. Mendelsohn has pioneered the rapidly developing field of antibody-mediated cancer therapy in general and that of antibodies to growth factors in particular. Schlessinger was praised for his critical role in deciphering a new code for the flow of information from the cell surface into the cell. The prize review committees were chaired by Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Dr. Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion; Dr. Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University; and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Vartan Gregorian, who is president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The prize is unique in its flexible definition of dynamically changing fields of human knowledge within the three time dimensions and in its process of fostering the next generation of scholars - the laureates annually donate 20 scholarships to outstanding young researchers throughout the world in the chosen fields. Meanwhile, an agreement signed between the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Dan David Foundation to foster cultural and scientific collaboration between TAU and the French government will rotate the Dan David Prize ceremony between Tel Aviv (this year) and Paris (in 2007).