A Pole wins Nobel equivalent in humanities

Polish philosopher, Prof. Leszek Kolakowski has won the million dollar John W. Kluge award for his achievements in social sciences and humanities. This prize awarded by the Library of Congress of the United States is designed to reward work in disciplines not covered by the Nobel prizes, including history, religion, philosophy, politics, criticism in the arts and humanities and linguistics.
In announcing the award, Library of Congress Director, James Billington remarked:  “Very rarely can one identify a deep, reflective thinker who has had such a wide range of inquiry and demonstrable importance to major political events in his own time.  Out of deep scholarship and relentless inquiry, Leszek Kolakowski proofed intellectual bankruptcy of the Marxist ideology and the necessity of freedom, tolerance of diversity and the search for transcendence for reestablishing individual dignity.  His voice was fundamental for the fate of Poland, and influential in Europe as a whole. . . . Throughout his creative life he has asked big questions with the kind of intellectual honesty and depth that we have sought to honor with the John W. Kluge Prize.”
And how could one not be proud?

Stanislaw Kwiatkowski

Forum, 11/2003

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