In conversation with the Kyoto Prize Laureates


The Kyoto Prize Laureates, whose work spans the fields of theatre, chemistry, technology and astrophysics, share their perspectives on achieving excellence and instigating change within their disciplines and beyond. Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, moderates the discussion.

Please note: This event takes place online via Zoom. Register using the form below to receive joining instructions. A recording of the event will be available to watch afterwards on the Blavatnik School of Government YouTube channel.

About the 2019 Kyoto Prize Laureates

Professor James Gunn conceived and led the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which produced a three-dimensional digital cosmic map encompassing a broad region – a ‘map of the universe’. He contributed to the elucidation of the evolutionary history of the universe and has also published many pioneering astrophysical theories. Through these achievements, he has provided us with a significant understanding of the universe.

Ariane Mnouchkine, the founder and director of the Théâtre du Soleil, has been continuously producing masterpieces with historical and political themes over many decades. Referring to traditional performances of both the East and the West, she is a theatre pioneer whose unique theatrical organisation eschews hierarchical order.

Professor Ching Tang’s pioneering work led to the practical use of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and their widespread application in displays and lighting – from smartphones and TVs, to VR headsets and other wearable technology. He arrived at this achievement through studying light emission processes in electrically driven organic materials and invented a new device structure in which two carefully selected materials were stacked, allowing for high-efficiency light emission at low drive voltages.

About the Kyoto Prize

The Kyoto Prize is an international award, organised by the Inamori Foundation, to honour those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of humankind. Each year the prize is awarded in three categories: Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy. The awards are held annually in November, in Kyoto, Japan. The Laureates travel to Oxford in the following May for the Kyoto Prize at Oxford, hosted by the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. Due to the postponement of last year's event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the Blavatnik School is hosting the 2019 Laureates.

The driving vision for the Kyoto Prize at Oxford is that the Inamori Foundation and the Blavatnik School of Government find a shared purpose in inspiring, educating and connecting individuals who strive for the greater good of humankind and society.

Image courtesy of the Inamori Foundation.