Milan, 3 September 2007. One of the four International Balzan Prizes 2007, which have a prize fund of CHF 1 million (EUR 610 thousand), is to be awarded for studies in the area of European literature (1000-1500) to Michel Zink, Collège de France, Paris.
The profiles of the winners and the motivations of the award were presented by a member of Balzan’s General Prize Committee:
Karlheinz Stierle (member of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Germany, Professor Emeritus of Romance literature at the University of Constance, Germany and Corresponding Fellow of the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques, France) justified the assignment of the Prize for European Literature (1000-1500) to Michel Zink as follows:
“For his fundamental contributions to the understanding of French and Occitan literature in the Middle Ages, a decisive chapter in the development of modern European literature; for his new interpretation of the relation between medieval and modern literature; for his seminal initiatives that have brought the literature of the Middle Ages back into the cultural tradition of France and Europe”.
The President of the General Prize Committee, Sergio Romano, added that the awarded subjects, which vary each year, make it possible to encourage specific fields of study which are new or unknown to other international awards. As usual, the Committee’s twenty prestigious scholars from eleven different European countries put a great deal of effort in selecting the winners from among the candidates submitted by the most important international cultural institutions.
Ambassador Bruno Bottai, expressed satisfaction for the prestige of the eminent scholars who will receive the Balzan Prize on 23 November in Berne (in compliance with the rule of alternation between the Italian and the Swiss capitals). It is important to remember that the Balzan Foundation requests that half of the million Swiss Francs received by the winner of each of the four subjects be destined for research work, preferably involving young scholars and researchers.
The International Balzan Prize Foundation, founded in 1957, promotes culture, science, and the most meritorious initiatives in the cause of humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples, regardless of nationality, race or creed throughout the world. It achieves its aim through the annual award of four prizes in two general fields: literature, the moral sciences and the arts; medicine and the physical, mathematical and natural sciences, each for the current value of CHF 1 million. Each prize-winner must destine half of the prize for research work, preferably involving young researchers.
The Balzan Foundation also periodically awards a “Prize for humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples”. The awards ceremony is held in alternate years in Rome, in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, and in Berne, in the presence of the Representative of the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation. The International Balzan Prize Foundation works from two different offices. The Balzan Foundation “Prize” (chaired in Milan by Ambassador Bruno Bottai), selects the subjects to be awarded and the candidates through its General Prize Committee, which is composed of eminent European members. The Balzan Foundation “Fund” (chaired in Zurich by Achille Casanova) administers the estate left by Eugenio Balzan.
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