The All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values is awarded to eminent scholars whose work represents a significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual values of Europe and to the idea of European integration, thereby promoting and strengthening an understanding of Europe as multifaceted, intellectual, open and vibrant. The prize also seeks to underline the importance of non-technological scholarly work and research for European advancement.
Europe is remarkable in that its definition and geographic boundaries have varied over the centuries, yet there has always been a kind of constant understanding of European culture as rooted in an inherent openness supported by a dynamic and vigorous intellectualism. In a time when the cultural diversity of Europe seems to be increasingly threatened by scepticism, extremism and instability, this prize serves to remind us of this deep-rooted and revered characteristic of Europe.
At the same time it relates to the project New Narrative for Europe, initiated by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, which invited artists, intellectuals and scientists to contribute to a reflection on the European story.
The prize forms part of a larger set of ALLEA activities aiming not only to promote the intellectual and cultural richness of Europe, but also to support and acknowledge scholarly contributions that benefit these most valuable of Europe’s assets. In 2014, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso handed over the inaugural prize to Professor Luisa Passerini, who was honoured for her research on forms of European identity.
Laureates are well known for their scholarly excellence in the fields of history, political science, social science, religion, law or any other field in the humanities. A laureate’s work may also be of interdisciplinary nature and must represent a major contribution to the research on Europe in these respective areas. At the same time, it should also be of remarkable significance for the existing and emerging values of Europe which help to tackle current and future challenges such as inequality, political instability, religious diversity, demographic change, or migration, and not least scepticism towards European integration and unity.
The prize was kindly co-sponsored by Stiftung Mercator until 2016. Stiftung Mercator is a private foundation which fosters science and the humanities, education and international understanding. It specifically initiates, develops and funds projects and partner organisations in the thematic fields to which it is committed: it wants to strengthen Europe, improve integration through equal educational opportunities for everyone, drive forward the energy transition as a trigger for global climate change mitigation and firmly anchor cultural education in schools. Stiftung Mercator feels a strong sense of loyalty to the Ruhr region, the home of the founding family and the foundation’s headquarters.
Read more about Stiftung Mercator here.