Honorary Fellow Michael Cook (KC 1959) has been awarded the prestigious Balzan Prize for his contribution to Islamic Studies. Michael studied History and Oriental Studies at King's, graduating in 1963, and was appointed as an Honorary Fellow in 2018. He is currently the Class of 1943 University Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and was awarded another major international honour, the Holberg Prize, in 2014.
In bestowing the award, the International Balzan Foundation cited Michael:
For the exceptional impact of his work on several research areas in Islamic Studies most notably: the study of the origin and early history of Islamic thought, the intellectual, social and political history of Islam through the ages and the place of Islam in global history; for the outstanding quality of his scholarship in depth, temporal and geographical breadth and methodological rigour as well as the use of a comparative approach; and for the meticulous philological analysis of primary sources in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Hebrew, Syriac, South Arabian, and Sanskrit.
The International Balzan Foundation exists with the aim is to promote culture, science and humanitiarian initiatives. Four Balzan Prizes are awarded annually to scholars and scientists who are distinguished in their fields on an international level: two in literature, the moral sciences and the arts, and two in the physical, mathematical and natural sciences and medicine.
The prize will be presented to Michael during a ceremony in Bern, Switzerland, on 15 November, and comes with an award of $760,000, half of which must be spent to finance research projects involving a new generation of young researchers.
For more information about the Balzan Prize, please see the Foundation's website.