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WCC award ceremony: Distinctions for leading scientists

This year, Leiden University is organising the 34th Award Ceremony of the World Cultural Council (WCC). Who will be the prize winners this year?

Leiden will be the setting for the 34th Award Ceremony of the World Cultural Council (WCC) on 8 November. During the event, prizes will be awarded to leading researchers - including nine talented Leiden females - who have contributed to the cultural enrichment of society.  

World Cultural Council

Omar Yaghi

WCC is an international organisation, located in Mexico, whose aim is to contribute to science and to stimulate culture. Every year the organisation presents the Albert Einstein World Award of Science and the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts. Besides these prestigious distinctions, a number of Special Recognition Awards are also made. Leiden University is organising the event this year because Leiden astronomist  Ewine van Dishoeck was the 2015 winner of the Albert Einstein World Award of Science.


The 2017 Albert Einstein World Award of Science will be presented to chemist Omar Yaghi, Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Yaghi has been awarded the prize for his pioneering scientific contributions, including the making of material obtained through  crystalline metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs).

Russell Hartenberger

Russell Hartenberger, emeritus professor of Ethnomusicology and Percussion at the University of Toronto, will receive Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts. This award is in recognition of his lifelong commitment to cultivating and shaping music from different cultures and genres, while respecting the diversity of world traditions. He is also receiving this prize for his achievements as a scientific writer, his work as a talented percussionist and his involvement in teaching and inspiring new generations of young musicians and academics.

Special Recognition Awards

Every year the WCC presents special recognition awards to young scientists at the university organising the ceremony. These awards will go this year to nine female researchers at Leiden University: Nadine Akkerman, Ann Brysbaert, Marike Knoef, Marianne Maeckelbergh, Victoria Nyst, Sarah De Rijcke, Alicia Schrikker, Martina Vijver and Inge van der Weijden. The research conducted by these talented females has an impact on society and they all perform excellently in the field of science, teaching and/or art, according to the WCC.  The award ceremony will take place on 8 November in Leiden’s Pieterskerk.

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