Kyoto Prizes to Further Stress "Moral" Achievements

National Geographic News
February 8, 2002

Given the present turmoil in the world, the founder and sponsor of the Kyoto Prizes said this week he may expand the awards program to encourage greater moral and spiritual advancement.

The program, which recognizes significant world achievements not covered by the Nobel Prize, honors individuals and groups worldwide that have contributed to scientific, cultural, and spiritual development.

"Since I founded the Kyoto Prizes 17 years ago to recognize those who further humanity through a balance of technology and spirituality, it has become even more critical to emphasize the moral and spiritual contribution," said Kazuo Inamori.

Inamori, a Japanese industrialist, established the Inamori Foundation, which sponsors the annual Kyoto Prizes.

The awards are are given in the categories of advanced technology, basic science, and arts and philosophy. Since 1984, Kyoto Prizes have been awarded to 57 people from 12 countries.

"Now I'm thinking of expanding the third category of arts and philosophy, to add perhaps two more categories, so that more focus can be put on those aspects of human achievement," said Inamori.

Inamori made a personal fortune by founding Kyocera Corporation, now a giant industrial group with holdings in Japan, the United States, and other countries. He was interviewed this week in San Diego, California, at a symposium in which the 2001 Kyoto Prize laureates discussed their work and contributions to world peace.

Jane Goodall Among Laureates

Kyoto Prize laureates have included scientists, researchers, composers, musicians, philosophers, architects, artists, linguists, and film directors. Among them is Jane Goodall, the distinguished primatologist and a National Geographic explorer-in-residence. Goodall was awarded the Kyoto Prize in 1990.

The 2001 Kyoto Laureates Symposium was held at the University of San Diego's new Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice—the first time the event was held outside Japan.

Alice Hayes, president of the university, said she approached the Inamori Foundation to hold the laureate symposium at the Institute for Peace and Justice because the Kyoto Prizes epitomize the ideals the institute is striving to achieve.

"The Kyoto Prizes are about people working for the common good," said Hayes. The Institute for Peace and Justice, she added, "emphasizes building peace through human relationships."

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