In a magnificent Award Ceremony that will take place in Thessaloniki, in the emblematic Rotunda monument, on Wednesday the 13th of October 2021, the Empress Theophano Prize will be awarded to the scientist couple who developed the first vaccine against the coronavirus, Dr Uğur Şahin and Dr Özlem Türeci.
HE the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou will honour the Ceremony with her presence and address the distinguished guests, while this year’s Prize will bring for the first time to Thessaloniki almost every member of the Advisory and Governing Council of the Foundation, from across Europe. Among them, visiting Greece and Thessaloniki to honour the Award Ceremony with their presence are Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland, Rita Süssmuth, former President of the Bundestag of Germany, Karl Prince zu Schwarzenberg, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and Sir Ivan Rogers, former UK Ambassador to the EU.
The 2021 Empress Theophano Prize focuses on the critical role of science in society and on its contribution to the Common Good. The Governing and Advisory Councils of the Theophano Foundation chose to showcase science’s decisive and vital intervention when critical conditions arise, improving human lives. And this very contribution of science is acknowledged in the form of the couple who developed the very first vaccine against the novel coronavirus, Dr Uğur Şahin and Dr Özlem Türeci. Setting an example and motivating young people everywhere, the two scientists have demonstrated solid and persistent efforts to resolve an unprecedented health crisis, dedication to the Common Good, and high quality of research and expertise, leading to a discovery that has given hope not only to Europe, but to Humankind.
At the same time, in the context of this year’s ceremony and in the presence of these leading personalities from across Europe, the Governing and the Advisory Councils of the Theophano Foundation, chaired by Mr Stavros Andreadis and President Herman Count Van Rompuy respectively, have decided to establish a new institution: the Theophano Round Table – a discussion panel on key topics of concern for humanity in the decades to come, related to and inspired by each year’s prize. This year’s event will take place on Thursday the 14th of October, under the title Securing Future Wellbeing Through Science and focusing on themes related to science for the Common Good, science and innovation in Europe, science and competitiveness, science and education, and science and healthy living. The two prize recipients’ participation in this discussion is anticipated with piqued interest; they will be conversing with selected members of the Advisory Committee, who will develop the subject from various viewpoints (detailed information on the programme is soon to be released).
Since its establishment, the Empress Theophano Foundation has set the goal of rewarding individuals and organisations for their impact on the understanding and strengthening of the contemporary European Idea, and their contribution to the social good, welfare and improvement of lives. Continuing its course that started last year with a focus on Education and the ERASMUS Student Exchange Programme, the Empress Theophano Prize aims to be established, year by year, as a notable means of highlighting those members of society that contribute to cooperation and facing the challenges of contemporary era within the European framework and beyond.
Alexis Papahelas, journalist and Executive Editor of Kathimerini newspaper, will present the Award Ceremony of the Empress Theophano Prize.
The Award Ceremony and the Round Table are sponsored by:
Official air carrier sponsor:
With the kind support of:
INFORMATION: Vicky Papadimitriou, Project Coordination | E: firstname.lastname@example.org | T: +30 6937 229858
Herman Van Rompuy
President Emeritus of the European Council
Former Minister of State of Belgium (BE)
Former President of Ireland | Professor of Children, Religion and Law, University Glasgow (IRL)
Trustee Edinburgh International Festival | Director Victoria & Albert Museum Dundee (UK)
Former European Ombudsman (GR)
President, Anna Lindh Foundation | Former Secretary of State (F)
Former President of Finland (FI)
Author and film director (PL)
Maria Luisa Poncela
Former Secretary of State (ES)
Vice-President Museum of European History (BE)
Professor Emeritus, Paris-Sorbonne University (FR)
Sir Ivan Rogers
Former UK Ambassador to the EU (UK)
Honorary fellow Collegio Alberto, University of Turin (IT)
Former President, European Court of Justice of the EU (GR)
Karl Prince zu Schwarzenberg
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (CZ)
Former President of the German Parliament (DE)
Professor Emeritus, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GR)
Luuk Van Middelaar
Professor of EU Foundations and Institutions, University of Leiden (NL)
Chairman, SANI/IKOS Group
Chairman, Cultural Society of Entrepreneurs of Northern Greece (GR)
Chairman, EFTHYMIADIS Agrotechnology Group
Honorary Chairman, Federation of Greek Industries (GR)
Chairman, Gerovassiliou Wines (GR)
Member of the Board, Hellenic Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage (GR)
Chairman, Greek Forest Property Association
Head of a forest management and wood production firm (GR)
Nada Korac Kakabadse
Professor of Policy, Governance and Ethics, Henley Business School, University of Reading (UK)
Chairman, ALUMIL Group (GR)
Professor Emeritus of Political Theory and European Politics, University of Salzburg (AT)
Secretary General, High Level Groups on Policy Innovation (BE)
Chairman, INART (GR)
Empress Theophano, who inspired this prize, is a historic figure of Europe who played a significant role in its development during the 10th century.
The niece of Emperor John I Tzimiskes, she married Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Empress as his wife. Following his death, she maintained the title of Empress. Her historic presence in Western Europe, dedicated to improving relations between East and West, offered a positive contribution to the cultural renaissance of western European territories, introducing to the west the central role women had in Byzantine society and transferring significant influence from the flourishing Byzantine empire in the fields of education, the arts, commerce, and health, while working to advance civil governance, promoting it over the military.
Empress Theophano is buried at the Cathedral of St Pantaleon in Cologne, Germany.
The emblematic monument of Thessaloniki, was constructed in the early 4th century AD, on the turning point between the pagan with the Christian world, probably as a temple for ancient cult worship or as a mausoleum for Constantine the Great (306-337). This circular, domed building measures 29.80 meters in height, 24.50 meters in diameter, its walls are 6.30 meters thick and can only be compared architecturally to the Pantheon in Rome. Not long after it was built and during the early years of the long-lived Byzantine Empire (330-1453), the Rotunda was turned into a Christian church with the addition of a sanctuary on its eastern side. The interior was decorated with Early Byzantine (4th- 6th c. AD) wall mosaics of unique artistry and beauty. It was Thessaloniki’s cathedral church (metropolis) between 1524 and 1591, the year in which it was converted to a mosque by the Ottoman conquerors. It remained in use as a mosque until the city’s liberation in 1912. Its dedication since that time to Saint George (Agios Georgios) is owing to the small neighboring church of this name. The mosaic decoration of the Rotunda is a masterpiece of Late Antique art.
Photo credits: Ephorate of Antiquities of Thessaloniki City.
Photo credits: Studio 8 Photos, Efi Panagoula.