French group wins Balzan humanitarian prize

AP News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2014 1:59 PM

MILAN (AP) — The International Balzan Foundation on Monday awarded its periodic humanitarian prize to a French organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged children in Africa.

The group Vivre en famille, founded in 1993, will receive 1 million Swiss francs (830,000 euros; $1 million) to build a maternity ward and fund a school for 500 students in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Balzan foundation said. This is the Balzan foundation's 10th humanitarian prize, which is awarded at intervals of at least three years but often longer.

The foundation also announced its four annual prizes, this round for archaeology, philosophy, plant ecology and mathematics.

G. David Tilman, 65, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota, was recognized for his work regarding plant ecology, specifically the study of why plants co-exist, while Dennis Sullivan, 73, who teaches at the City University in New York, won the mathematics prize.

Canadian Ian Hacking, 78, of the University of Toronto, won the award for philosophy, and Italian Mario Torelli, 77, of the University of Perugia, was honored for his contributions to archaeology.

Each year, the Balzan foundation awards four prizes in different disciplines, both in the humanities and sciences, in an effort to highlight innovative research. Prize-winners must use half of the award of 750,000 Swiss francs ($800,000) for research, preferably by young scholars. The prizes will be presented in November at a ceremony in Rome.

Next year's awards will be made in the fields of European art history, economic history, oceanography and astroparticle physics.