Helsinki 2023 – University of Helsinki

Date: 2-3 November 2023
Place of Ceremony: Great Hall
Host Institution: University of Helsinki
Host Country: Finland

Video of the 2023 Award Ceremony

Science Award

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 2023.  The prize is awarded in recognition of the fundamental nature and broad impact of his research on Nanoscale Science.

“First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for this tremendous honor. To stand before you today as the recipient of this prestigious science award is truly humbling and overwhelming. I am immensely grateful to the selection committee of the World Cultural Council for recognizing my work and contributions to the field of Nanoscience. 

“This award represents the culmination of more than 50 years of research dedication and perseverance. It is a testament to the incredible team of mentors, collaborators, and supporters who have been instrumental in my journey. I extend my utmost appreciation to each and every one of them for their guidance and encouragement”.

– Professor Christoph Gerber

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Education Award

Professor Larry V. Hedges has been selected as the winner of the World Cultural Council José Vasconcelos World Award of Education 2023

The prize is awarded in recognition of Prof. Hedges’s groundbreaking and systematic application of research and his development of methods for meta-analysis over the past four decades which have contributed to more accurate assessment of evidence across disciplines.

“I thank the World Cultural Council, the jury of the Council that selected me, and the University of Helsinki for recognizing me when they might have chosen any number of others.

“What a privilege to be linked to José Vasconcelos, the namesake of this award. He was a man ahead of his time in the early 20th century, a man who envisioned education for all of the diverse populations of his native Mexico. He knew that education could better people’s lives and acted on that principle throughout his life.

“I never forget that a good education afforded me the satisfying life that I have with vistas stretching far beyond those of my parents. From Northwestern University in Evanston, I have the privilege of helping others boost their opportunities through education, very much in the shadow of José Vasconcelos”.

– Professor Larry V. Hedges

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The prizes were presented by Professor Sari Lindblom, Rector of the University of Helsinki, Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart, President, World Cultural Council and Dr Esteban M. Wild, Executive Director World Cultural Council. Distinguished members of the WCC attended the Celebrations, such as, Dr. René Asomoza Palacio, Prof. Carl Gahmberg, Prof. Leonids Ribickis, Prof. Gary Marquis, Prof. Jukka Seppälä, Prof. Kalevi Ekman. Among the special guests who attended the event were His Excellency, the Ambassador of Mexico, Mr. Enrique Rojo Stein, Prof. Christopher Manfredi, Provost, McGill University, Canada and Prof. Torsten Schwede, Vice President for Research, University of Basel.


Message from the Rector of Helsinki University

“Today we celebrate outstanding scientists and educators whose breakthroughs in the fields of knowledge, learning and research have contributed to the cultural enrichment and the well-being of humanity. At this ceremony, the World Cultural Council grants the annual Albert Einstein World Award of Science and the José Vasconcelos World Award of Education. We also present Special Acknowledgements to eight people from the University of Helsinki who have achieved outstanding performance in the fields of science and education.

“In the middle of uncertainty and transformation, universities hold the key role in evoking hope. High-level expertise stems from high-quality university education based on research. We universities are also drivers of societal change.  We educate experts of the future and produce new knowledge to tackle shared challenges. Skills in analytical and critical thinking and the ability to solve problems are the competences we provide. They are about identifying connections between things, recognising trends, understanding the whole and coming up with new ideas for solving problems. Change and transformation are forces essential to driving us forward. Conducting research is about making discoveries and knowledge is constantly regenerated. This is why the ability to act amid change is crucial”.

– Professor Sari Lindblom, Rector of the University of Helsinki

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Salutatory Speech Maestro José Estrada

“Great goals and high ideals are needed in all our pursuits, but none more than in the need for education. We have seen how history has repeated itself through the ages and continues to repeat itself today. Both local and far-reaching conflicts are bred by deep ideological differences, centuries-old prejudices, suspicion towards what is different, and ambition for wealth and power. 

“Crises can only find solutions in wisdom. This is where higher education plays an essential role. By education we do not only mean communicating facts or training technocrats but developing thinkers, humanists, and leaders with high goals and a deep sense of ethics. By wisdom, we mean that one lives consistent with the knowledge that one possesses.

“The World Cultural Council exists to promote education as a cornerstone on which a great, progressive society can be built. We also wish to promote the great minds and hearts of our award winners as inspiring role models for today’s young people and for future generations”.

José Estrada, Founder and President Emeritus World Cultural Council
(Presented by Dr René Asomoza Palacio, Member of the WCC)

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Message from Sir Fraser Stoddart, President, WCC

“I would like to begin my salutatory address by expressing my heartfelt thanks on behalf of the World Cultural Council, absolutely no holds barred,  to the University of Helsinki,  its director Sari Lindblom, other university dignitaries, its officials, and its authorities, for their warm hospitality and, finally, the academic staff and students of the University of Helsinki for hosting this year’s celebrations.

“We are gathered here together to add two outstanding role models to the pantheon of all-time WCC awardees: eminent physicist and nanotechnologist, Professor Christoph Gerber, from the University of Basel in Switzerland, and Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics, Education and Social Policy, Larry Hedges, from Northwestern University in the United States”.

Sir Fraser Stoddart,  President, World Cultural Council

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Photo Galleries

Award Ceremony

Photos by Pekka Lähteenmäki

Award Ceremony

Photos by Veikko Somerpuro


Photos by Pekka Lähteenmäki


Photos by Pekka Lähteenmäki

Special lectures

Video of the Special Lectures

Special Lectures Gallery

Photos by Pekka Lähteenmäki

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2024 Event Location

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McGill University, Canada

Event Website

McGill University

You can find additional information about the event on the McGill University 2024 WCC Awards website