Elie Wiesel Joins Pre-eminent Global Leaders on Genesis Prize Committee

New York, NY, March 24, 2013 – The Genesis Prize Foundation announced today that Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and human rights activist, joins distinguished individuals from, Argentina, Canada, Israel, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States in a global initiative aimed at strengthening the connection of Jewish people around the world to the cultural and spiritual values that unite them.

Dubbed the “Jewish Nobel” by Time Magazine, the annual, $1 million Genesis Prize will be awarded to an accomplished, internationally renowned professional from anywhere in the world who is a role model in his/her community and who can inspire the younger generation of Jews worldwide. The inaugural Genesis Prize will be awarded in the spring of 2014 in Jerusalem by the Prime Minister of Israel.

“From Moses to Maimonides and Einstein to Ben Gurion, Jews have contributed to the world in a unparalleled way – always moving forward and inspiring inventions, innovations, thought and creativity,” said Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee. “The Genesis Prize pays homage to that and aims to find the next generation of great Jewish minds.”

Candidates will be nominated by leaders of prominent institutions and organizations in every major Jewish community as well as major universities around the world. The Selection Committee will narrow the list to five candidates, who will then be considered by the Prize Committee. Committee members were selected for their outstanding leadership in areas such as international affairs and journalism, human rights and justice, business and philanthropy as well as for their unwavering support of Jewish causes.

The Selection Committee includes:

  • Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth;
  • Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel (Committee Chairman);
  • Petr Aven, Co-Founder and board member of Genesis Philanthropy Group, President, Alfa Bank;
  • Zvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of Israel;
  • Harel Locker, Director General, Prime Minister’s Office;
  • Fiamma Nirenstein, Journalist and Author; Former Italian Member of Parliament and Deputy-President of the Foreign Affairs Committee;
  • Jack Rosen, Chief Executive Officer, Rosen Partners LLC, President of the American Jewish Congress, Chairman of the American Council for World Jewry;
  • Andrés Spokoiny, President and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network.

The Prize Committee includes:

  • Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate; Professor, Boston University; President, Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity
  • Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of Knesset (Committee Chairman)
  • Meir Shamgar, Justice and President emeritus, Supreme Court of Israel
  • Tova Strasberg-Cohen, Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, retired

The accomplishments of the Genesis Prize laureate will place a bright spotlight on the individual’s achievement in his/her field and will serve to symbolize the Jewish people’s contribution to humanity. Candidates will be considered based on the following carefully crafted criteria:

  • Candidate must have achieved outstanding excellence and international renown for his/her contribution to his/her chosen professional field and to the progress of mankind.
  • Candidate must serve as a role model for others through his/her commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish People and/or to Israel. This commitment, in turn, should inspire the nominee’s achievement and social involvement.
  • Candidate must be dedicated to continuing his/her support of Jewish causes by means of direct personal engagement and action.

“The Prize will be the cornerstone of a worldwide effort to create a new, robust consciousness for younger generations of Jews,” said Stan Polovets, Chairman of the Board of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “We believe that when young people better understand and relate to their rich historical and cultural legacy, they are far more likely to carry forth important values that can contribute to the betterment of the world.”

The Genesis Prize can be found on Twitter @TheGenesisPrize.