Pfizer president and chairman, Dr. Albert Bourla, honored with the annual $1 million Genesis Prize, dubbed the “Jewish Nobel” by TIME magazine, in a ceremony in Jerusalem Wednesday night. Bourla will donate the funds to the Holocaust Museum in his birthplace of Thessaloniki, Greece.
The Russian ‘Jewish Nobel’ founders, oligarchs of Ukrainian and Russian descent, Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, and Petr Aven. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of Western sanctions on them for their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, all three resigned from the Genesis board in March.
Since 2014, the award has been granted to “extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values, and the State of Israel.”
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Bourla, the son of Holocaust survivors, managed the development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in under nine months which is predicted to have saved over 20 million lives in the first year of the pandemic.
The Genesis Prize also celebrates the boldness of his vision and willingness to assume risks, which enabled the delivery of the vaccine in record time. In addition to honoring the vast humanitarian impact
The award also celebrates his pride in his Jewish identity and heritage and his strong support for the State of Israel.
President Isaac Herzog presented the Genesis Prize at a gala event that brought together hundreds of dignitaries from Israel, including government ministers, heads of business and philanthropic organizations, as well as prominent representatives of the Jewish Diaspora and leading members of the global medical community
Isaac Herzog said: “Albert Bourla was not deterred by high stakes, by naysayers, by conspiracy or by politics. He believed in the vaccine and invested every ounce of himself in realizing what seemed at the time a far-fetched fantasy. The vaccine was developed at record speed, utilizing the technology of tomorrow to successfully hold back a devastating pandemic.
“A study published by The Lancet just days ago points to nearly 20 million lives saved by COVID vaccines. Indeed, the vaccine gave us freedom we thought we lost. Albert, I congratulate you and your colleagues and counterparts, who are making such a critical impact on humanity, while embracing your Jewish heritage and values, and inspiring Jewish pride.”
Founder and Chairman of The Genesis Prize Foundation Stan Polovets added: “To save a human life is a fundamental Jewish value. Today we honor Dr. Bourla – a living embodiment of this ancient Jewish principle. We also celebrate the immense contribution of Jewish doctors who were on the frontline of the COVID pandemic for two years and who continue to save lives of people suffering in Ukraine today.”
2022 Genesis Prize Laureate Dr. Albert Bourla said: “I am honored and deeply humbled to receive the Genesis Prize. Honored because I never set out to be famous, and I never imagined that I would one day be up here with the illustrious nominees and past awardees—artists, philanthropists, and statesmen and stateswomen who show the world the best that the Jewish people have to offer. And humbled because this is not my award—it belongs to all Pfizer colleagues who worked tirelessly in the middle of a global pandemic to make the ‘impossible possible’ and give the world a chance to return to normalcy. Every life is precious and we must confront our challenges with courage, humility and perseverance. My Pfizer colleagues lived these values, and I am proud to be here in Israel to celebrate them and their extraordinary achievement.”
Following Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Bourla gifts the $1 million prize award to establish the Holocaust Museum of Greece in Thessaloniki.