John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity

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End: October 15, 2017
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Established with an endowment provided by the late John W. Kluge, the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity recognizes and celebrates work of the highest quality and greatest impact that advances understanding of the human experience. The prize is a $1 million award, conferred by the Library of Congress, on a laureate from any part of the world. The main criterion for the prize is deep achievement in the study of humanity. Nominees need not have worked primarily in academic institutions, but they are expected to have developed, in their creative pursuits or careers, unique insights into the forces that have shaped and continue to shape humankind. Candidates should be distinguished by their intellectual achievements, by the fundamental importance of their work and its impact on public affairs and civil society, and by the ability to communicate the significance of their work to broad audiences.


The nominee’s body of work should have evidenced growth in maturity and range and have earned unusual distinction within a given area of inquiry. It should exemplify values and insights that have meaning both within and beyond the scholarly community over a sustained period. It should, in large part, be understandable to scholars in a variety of fields, to those involved in public affairs, and to the average layperson. Seniority is not a prerequisite for recognition of such achievement.


The prize is not offered to candidates whose primary work has been in economics, literature, peace, chemistry, physics or physiology or medicine, the areas covered by the Nobel Prizes, nor are self-nominations accepted.


Past recipients include Leszek Kolakowski of Poland, Paul Ricoeur of France, Jaroslav Pelikan, John Hope Franklin, and Peter Brown of the United States, Yu Ying-shih of China and the United States, Romila Thapar of India, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Jürgen Habermas of Germany, and Charles Taylor of Canada.


The Library of Congress invites nominations for the Kluge Prize from knowledgeable individuals in colleges, universities, government agencies, embassies, and research institutions across the globe, as well as from independent scholars and writers and from library curators. As such, we would be most appreciative of any nominations you provide for consideration.


Letters of nomination should include the name, citizenship, address and other contact information of the nominee, as well as a brief statement describing his or her achievements, most significant publications, and your rationale for identifying the nominee as a worthy recipient of the Kluge Prize. Your nominations will be held in strictest confidence.


In order for nominations to receive full consideration, we ask that you submit your materials by October 15, 2017. Nominations should be submitted by e-mail to: