10th Annual Kyoto Prize Symposium Celebrates Outstanding Contributions to Society


SAN DIEGO, CALIF. — March 2, 2011 —The Inamori Foundation and the Kyoto Symposium Organization today announced that they will bring the 26th laureates of the Kyoto Prize — Japan’s highest private award for global achievement — to San Diego, April 4-6, 2011, for the tenth annual Kyoto Prize Symposium. Area universities will host the laureates at lecture events that are free and open to the public.

High school groups can request free transportation through the online group registration form.

The three-day symposium will open with a morning press conference at Point Loma Nazarene University, Monday, April 4; followed by the benefit gala, “The Kyoto Prize: Celebrating Outstanding Lifetime Achievement,” 5:30 p.m., at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel. Public presentations by the laureates will follow April 5-6 at San Diego State University (SDSU); University of California, San Diego (UCSD); and University of San Diego (USD).

The 26th Kyoto Prize Laureates are:

•  In “Advanced Technology,” Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, 48 (citizenship: Japan).
Yamanaka is a medical scientist who developed a technology for producing induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells without using embryos — an achievement the San Francisco Chronicle reported as “likely to be the most important stem cell breakthrough of all time.” Yamanaka is a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease; professor at Kyoto University; and director of CiRA, Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application. He will speak at SDSU’s Montezuma Hall at Aztec Center, 9:30-11:00 a.m, Tuesday, April 5.

•  In “Basic Sciences,”  Dr. László Lovász, 62 (dual citizenship: Hungary and U.S.A.).
Considered one of the world’s most accomplished mathematicians, Lovász has made pioneering contributions to algorithms and graph theory, advancing the study of cryptography and large networks ranging from the World Wide Web to the human brain. He serves as director of the Mathematical Institute at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and president of the International Mathematical Union. He will speak at UCSD’s Price Center Ballrooms A & B at 3:30-5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5.

•  In “Arts and Philosophy,” Mr. William Kentridge, 55 (citizenship: South Africa).
Profiled on a recent “Time 100” listing of the world’s most influential people, Kentridge is known for his “drawings in motion,” which fuse traditional charcoal sketches with animation, video projection and stage design. With subject matter that often reflects the history and social circumstances of his native South Africa, his works have been described as “dazzling,” “enthralling” and “devastating.” He will speak at USD’s Shiley Theatre, 10:00-11:30 a.m., on Wednesday, April 6.

“The Kyoto Prize Symposium is an invaluable resource for our region — one that draws international attention to our high-tech, biotech and arts communities while providing incredible opportunities for our youth,” stated Malin Burnham, noted philanthropist and business leader, who co-founded the non-profit Kyoto Symposium Organization. “Students have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the brilliance of these laureates and to be inspired by their work and life stories. To make this experience accessible to as many young people as possible, we are offering free transportation to enable hundreds of high school students to attend the laureates’ presentations.”

The April 4 gala benefits several scholarship programs, including the 2011-2012 Kyoto Prize Scholarships, which will be presented to six high school seniors — three each from San Diego and Tijuana — in the categories of advanced technology, basic sciences, and arts and philosophy. Valued at $10,000 each, these scholarships are given to students who have been motivated by the laureates to better society through their life’s work. Serving as the event’s honorary chair is Masashi Oka, president and CEO of Union Bank.

The Kyoto Prize
The Kyoto Prize is presented annually by the non-profit Inamori Foundation to individuals and groups worldwide who have made outstanding contributions to the betterment of humanity. Consisting of academic honors, a 20-karat gold medal and a cash gift of 50 million yen (about $600,000), it is Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. The laureates are selected through a strict and impartial process considering candidates recommended from around the world. As of November 10, 2010, the Kyoto Prize has been awarded to 84 individuals and one foundationcollectively representing 15 nations. Kyoto Prize laureates range from scientists, engineers and researchers to philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians and film directors. The United States has produced the most recipients (34), followed by Japan (14), the United Kingdom (12), and France (8).

The Inamori Foundation
The non-profit Inamori Foundation was established in Kyoto, Japan, in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, a humanitarian and founder of both Kyocera and KDDI Corporation. Dr. Inamori created the Kyoto Prize in 1985, in reflection of his belief that human beings have no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of society, and that mankind’s future can be assured only when there is a balance between science, technology and the human spirit.

The Kyoto Symposium Organization
The Kyoto Symposium Organization is a San Diego-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization established to support the Kyoto Prize Symposium and Kyoto Scholarship programs.