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The Kyoto Prize Symposium


San Diego’s Kyoto Prize Symposium is a three-day celebration of the lives and works of those receiving the Kyoto Prize, a lifetime achievement award presented annually to individuals and groups worldwide. Thanks to a grant from the Inamori Foundation, and the many generous supporters of our Benefit Gala, this year the symposium lectures will be presented virtually and are open to the public at no charge.

The symposium provides 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. Each year, the Symposium features lectures by the latest Kyoto Prize Laureates and esteemed scholars in the Laureates’ fields. The event includes representatives of business, government, independent peacemaking organizations, and academic institutions and societies.

The Kyoto Prize Symposium is co-hosted by UC San Diego & Point Loma Nazarene University.


Kyoto Prize Symposium March 24 -25

The University of California San Diego virtually hosted three lectures on March 24 and 25, as part of the Kyoto Prize Symposium. The annual event—co-hosted by UC San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University—featured talks from recipients of the prestigious Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest honor for global visionaries who made scientific and cultural advancements that benefit mankind.

Watch here

About The Kyoto Prize Laureates

burke-eugene-burke-(3).jpgMarch 24 at 3:30 p.m.

In “Arts and Philosophy,” Mrs. Ariane Mnouchkine is a founder and director of the Théâtre du Soleil in Paris. A preeminent European director, she has produced masterpieces with historical and political themes tied to both the East and the West. Her five decades of theatre creation embody the ideal of “public theater.” Théâtre du Soleil often uses physicality - inspired by Japanese Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku; Indian Kathakali; and Western works such as Shakespeare. Her unique theatrical organization eschews hierarchical order. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Oxford and Roma III – and was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2007 by the Venice Biennale.

 Mrs. Mnouchkine will be introduced by Professor Allan Havis, Former Chair, Theatre & Dance Department, University of California San Diego.  


March 25 at 2 p.m.

In “Advanced Technology,” Ching W. Tang, Ph.D is renowned for his pioneering work in developing organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and their widespread application in displays, televisions and lighting. Tang studied light emission processes in electrically driven organic materials and invented a new device structure in which two carefully selected materials were stacked, allowing for high-efficiency light emission at low drive voltages. A chemist and professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Professor Emeritus at the University of Rochester, Tang is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has received a multitude of awards and honors, including: Wolf Prize in Chemistry, IEEE Noble Award for Emerging Technologies and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Introducing Dr. Tang will be Dr. Darren J. Lipomi, Professor, Department of NanoEngineering, University of California San Diego.  


March 25 at 4 p.m.

In “Basic Sciences,” James E. Gunn. Ph.D. is Emeritus Eugene Higgins Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. He led the pioneering Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) from its hardware design phase, beginning in 1992. SDSS, which has produced a three-dimensional digital cosmic map encompassing a broad region, is regarded among the most ambitious and influential surveys in the history of astronomy. Gunn played a vital role in the project, including planning, instrument development and data analysis, and contributed to the elucidation of the evolutionary history of the universe. He also published many pioneering astrophysical theories. A key contributor to scientific understanding of the universe, Gunn is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received honors including the Crafoord Prize in Astronomy, the Gruber Prize in Cosmology and the National Medal of Science.

Professor Gunn will be introduced by Alison Coil, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Ingrid and Joseph W. Hibben Chair, Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences.


Kyoto Prize Origin


The Kyoto Prize is an international award created by Japan’s non-profit Inamori Foundation to honor those who have contributed significantly to humankind’s scientific, cultural and spiritual development. Consisting of academic honors, a gold medal and a cash gift, it is Japan’s highest private award for global achievement.

Dr. Kazuo Inamori, who created the Kyoto Prize in 1984, is an international humanitarian and founder of many enterprises — including Kyocera Corporation and KDDI Corporation. Inamori established the Kyoto Prize for two reasons: first, to support his belief that there is no higher calling than to work for the greater good of all humankind; and second, to recognize those dedicated yet unsung people who improve the world through their research, science and art. Through the Kyoto Prize, Dr. Inamori hopes both to recognize the efforts and contributions to society made by these extraordinary people, and to stimulate them and others to still greater heights.

Kyoto Prize Scholarships


For the 20th consecutive year, the Kyoto Symposium Organization will offer its Kyoto Prize Scholarships to college-bound students from public and private high schools in both San Diego and Baja California.  For the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year, three $10,000 scholarships will be offered in San Diego (including city and county school districts), and three MXN-100,000 scholarships will be offered in Baja California.  As part of the application, students must read about a 2019 Kyoto Prize laureate and write three short essays describing how the laureate’s work inspires their own life, study or career plans.

For more information about these scholarships, visit​



For information about the Kyoto Prize Symposium, the San Diego Kyoto Symposium Organization or the Kyoto Prize scholarships, please contact Dick Davis at 858-344-6736 or with any questions.

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