Dr. Albert Bourla Receives Genesis Prize Award
Myriam Bourla, Dr. Albert Bourla and World Union for Progressive Judaism President Rabbi Sergio Bergman
On June 29, 2022, the President of Israel Isaac Herzog presented the Genesis Prize to Dr. Albert Bourla at a ceremony in Israel’s capital Jerusalem.
The gala event brought together hundreds of dignitaries from Israel, including government ministers, members of Knesset, prominent representatives of the Jewish Diaspora and leading members of the global medical community.
Dr. Albert Bourla was announced as the 9th Genesis Prize Laureate in January 2022. The award recognizes his leadership in delivering a vaccine against COVID-19, which saved millions of lives during the pandemic. The Genesis Prize also celebrates the boldness of his vision and willingness to assume risks, which enabled delivery of the vaccine in record time. In addition to honoring the vast humanitarian impact of Dr. Bourla’s leadership, the award also celebrates his pride in his Jewish identity and heritage, and his strong support for the State of Israel.
The ceremony opened with a moving tribute to the people of Ukraine and appreciation to the many Israeli and international Jewish organizations who are providing humanitarian aid. The Genesis Prize Foundation premiered a video “Jews in Medicine,” exploring the roots and impact of Jews on the medical field from biblical times to the modern-day fight against the COVID pandemic.
Reflecting on the award, Dr. Bourla shared, “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 the tradition established by the inaugural Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Bourla announced that he will forgo the $1 million prize award and has asked the Foundation to donate the funds toward establishing the Holocaust Museum of Greece to be built in Thessaloniki.
Albert Bourla was born in Thessaloniki, home to an ancient Jewish community that traced its roots to antiquity. The vibrant Jewish community of 55,000 was almost completely wiped out during the Nazi occupation. The Greek Holocaust Museum will immortalize the history of the Greek Jewish community from antiquity to modern age.