PLNU is once again participating in the 20th annual Kyoto Prize Symposium March 24 and 25, only this time it will be in a virtual format. The Kyoto Prize is one of the world’s most prestigious honors, recognizing achievements in the sciences and the arts. Many Kyoto Prize laureates have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.

Typically, each November three people are named as laureates in a ceremony in Kyoto Japan, and then the laureates come to San Diego for lectures and other appearances. PLNU has hosted a luncheon since 2008, where students and faculty interact with the laureates, and then attend the lectures on campuses throughout the city. In addition, 10 PLNU students who are studying in the areas represented by the laureates receive scholarships. High school students in both San Diego and Tijuana also receive significant scholarships for college.

This year, because of the pandemic, the laureates will appear virtually March 24 and 25, with their events sponsored by UCSD and PLNU. They are Ariane Mnouchkine, founder and director of the Théâtre du Soleil in Paris; Ching W. Tang, Ph.D, known for his pioneering work in developing organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and their widespread application in displays, televisions and lighting; and James Gunn, Ph.D., whose work in astrophysics contributed to our knowledge of the evolutionary history of the universe.

President Bob Brower said in a statement that the Kyoto Prize, which is funded by the Inamori Foundation of Kyoto is a great fit for our university. “The Inamori Foundation’s belief in balance between scientific development and spiritual depth resonates deeply with PLNU,” he said. “We are inspired and motivated by the great work of the laureates. We are honored to pursue a better future for our world in partnership with our fellow host university, the Kyoto Prize Laureates, and the Inamori Foundation.”

An online benefit gala on March 23 will provide an opportunity to celebrate both the laureates for their achievements and the high school scholarship recipients. More information on the gala can be found at this link.

The lectures, free to the public, can be accessed at this link.

According to the Kyoto Prize website, the gala and the lectures provide “an opportunity for an international audience to learn about the achievements of the current Kyoto Prize Laureates and to discuss the relationship between their accomplishments and the common quest for peace and harmony in our world.”

Dean Nelson, Ph.D., is the founder and director of PLNU’s journalism program, and of the Writer’s Symposium.

PLNU’s the Viewpoint publishes relevant and vital stories that grapple with life's profound questions from a uniquely Christian perspective. In addition to the content offered online, the Viewpoint print magazine is published three times a year in spring, summer, and fall.