A look back

Dan David prize becomes largest history award in world

Headquartered at Tel Aviv University, endowment will give 9 scholars $300,000 apiece for achievements in study of human history

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Philanthropist Dan David, for whom the Dan David Prize is named, and which now is considered the largest history prize in the world (Courtesy Dan David Foundation)
Philanthropist Dan David, for whom the Dan David Prize is named, and which now is considered the largest history prize in the world (Courtesy Dan David Foundation)

The prestigious Dan David Prize from Tel Aviv University is being relaunched as the largest history prize in the world, and will award up to nine $300,000 prizes each year to scholars for achievements in the study of the human past.

The Dan David Prize is endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University. In addition to the nine prizes of $300,000 for individuals, $300,000 will go to establish a new international program for postdoctoral fellows who study history at Tel Aviv University.

Nominations for the new prize are now being accepted until November 1, 2021. Winners will be announced in early 2022.

The prize was first established in 2001 by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan David to recognize achievements in the sciences and the humanities. With the new direction, the prize will now champion emerging and more established scholars of the past.

Winners can include researchers from a wide range of fields, including history, archaeology, anthropology and art history, as well as archivists, curators, public historians and documentary filmmakers.

“We live in a world in which investment in the humanities, particularly in the historical disciplines, is declining, even though we know how important studying the past is for understanding the present and building the future,” said Ariel David, board member of the Dan David Foundation and son of the prize founder. “For these reasons we have decided to focus our resources on this field and help catalyze the next generation of scholars.”

The earlier incarnation of the prize awarded three annual prizes in fields chosen to represent the past, present and future.

Previous laureates included Dr. Anthony Fauci, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, novelist Margaret Atwood, former US vice president Al Gore, economist Esther Duflo and filmmakers Ethan and Joel Coen.

“The preservation, study, and communication of our history has always been a central part of human culture, and The Dan David Prize’s new path will shine a light on important stories and connections across time and place,” said Ma, the cellist.

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