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Come to the award ceremony of the World Cultural Council

Leiden University will be the stage of the annual award ceremony of the World Cultural Council (WCC) on 8 November. We answer the five key questions about these prestigious prizes.

What is the World Cultural Council?

The WCC aims to promote research and creativity internationally. One of the ways the organisation achieves this is by awarding a number of prizes every year to researchers and artists. The head office of WCC is in Mexico. 

Why is the prize ceremony being held in Leiden?

In 2015 Leiden astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck was awarded the Albert Einstein World Award of Science, WCC's most prestigious prize. She was given the award because of her scientific research on the chemical composition of the Universe. Two years later the winning research institution organises the official presentation of the prize, along the lines of how the Eurovision Song Contest is organised.  

Who will win the prizes this year?

The 2017 winners are already known. Omar M. Yaghi, chemist at the University of van Berkeley, will receive the Albert Einstein Award for his research on music from different culture and genres. Russell Hartenberger, emeritus professor at the University of Toronto, will receive the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts for his research on different cultures and genres. Nine female professors from Leiden University will receive a Special Recognition Award for making their research findings available in a comprehensible and accessible way. 

What else is on the programme?

On 7 November – the day before the presentation – Professor Sir Colin Blakemore, president of the WCC, will be a guest in the LUMC. That evening he will give a talk on the mechanisms we use to interpret perspective. He will address the impact this has on art and architecture. Prize winners Yaghi and Hartenberger will also give lectures, both in the morning of the award ceremony.

Can I attend?

Certainly! Both the award ceremony and the lecture by Sir Colin Blakemore are open to the public. You do need to register for both events.