Welcome message

Welcome messages by Sari Lindblom and Sir Fraser Stoddart

Let me warmly welcome all of you to the 38th World Cultural Council Award Ceremony at the University of Helsinki!

The World Cultural Council promotes culture, values and goodwill throughout the world. These are objectives that are familiar to universities. For centuries, we have unwaveringly continued to work for the benefit of society. We have at our disposal the power of research-based knowledge, which gives us a role in guiding the future. In an ever-changing world, universities hold a key role in evoking hope. We are a tremendous force able to make a difference in the world.

The University of Helsinki is Finland’s largest and oldest academic institution and an innovative centre of science and thinking. For 383 years, we have contributed to the establishment of a fair and equal society. Today, our multidisciplinary academic community solves problems that affect us around the globe – with the power of knowledge, for the world.

The University of Helsinki is a community of research and learning based on courageous thought and dialogue. We generate understanding for the benefit of society through responsible and ethical research and teaching. Therefore, it is our honour to host the World Cultural Council Award Ceremony, which celebrates pioneers and role models in modern technology and human culture, as well as introduces promising young scholars.

The University of Helsinki hosted the award ceremony for the first time in 2003, and we are excited to have this unique opportunity again. I hope that we can make this an inspirational and uplifting experience in Helsinki again for you. We look forward to meeting you in November!

Sari Lindblom
University of Helsinki


It is truly a great honour for the World Cultural Council to celebrate its 38th Award Ceremony at the University of Helsinki which is Finland’s largest and oldest academic institution. Since 1640 the University, which has contributed to the establishment of a more just society, is considered today to be one of the most equitable in the world. Nowadays, it is renowned as an innovative centre of science and culture.

These values are fully aligned with the vision of the World Cultural Council, which seeks to contribute to a culture that inspires the peoples across the planet to join together towards the making of a better world, respecting differences between people, promoting progress and celebrating the achievements emanating from human creativity.

This year, Professor Christoph Gerber, Department of Physics and Swiss Nano Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland, has been selected as the winner of the “ALBERT EINSTEIN” World Award of Science and Professor Larry V. Hedges, Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics and Education and Social Policy; Professor of Psychology; Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University, USA, will be conferred the “JOSÉ VASCONCELOS” World Award of Education. Both winners are eminent pioneers in their respective fields and outstanding role models who have accomplished remarkable goals leading to advances in modern technology and human culture.

The event also includes the presentation of Special Recognitions to a number of young Finnish scholars whose careers I am eager to follow in the years that lie ahead.

On this very special occasion, we will commemorate the fact that 20 years ago, the Award Ceremony took place for the first time in Finland hosted by the University of Helsinki. Following the precepts of the World Cultural Council to remain attentive to the responsibility of science and culture in tomorrow’s world, the 2023 celebrations will provide an excellent opportunity for disseminating the outstanding achievements of the laureates and celebrating the inspiration given by the awardees as role models, as well as encouraging members of the younger generations to join forces to overcome the challenges of our current times.

Sir Fraser Stoddart
World Cultural Council