Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding

The Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize, worth £25,000, is awarded annually for a non-fiction book that promotes global cultural understanding.

Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2019

The British Academy’s £25,000 non-fiction book prize is awarded annually for a book that contributes to public understanding of world cultures. It is designed to illuminate the interconnections and divisions that shape cultural identity worldwide.

How to nominate

Nominations for the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize are now closed. Nominations will reopen January 2021.

Key dates 2020

Shortlist announced

8 September

Tickets for live online shortlist event are available

8 September

Live online shortlist event in partnership with London Review Bookshop

1 October

Winner announcement

27 October

Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding shortlist event

On 1 October from 6–7pm, meet the authors shortlisted for the 2020 Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding at this special British Academy and LRB event, hosted on our YouTube channel. Ritula Shah will be joined by the five shortlisted authors for an exploration of cultural identity, why it matters and how we can move forward in these deeply problematic times.

The prize founder

I decided to initiate this prize for global cultural understanding because of the need to address certain perennial problems regarding the relations between different cultures, and to highlight the many ways in which apparently distinct cultures in fact overlap at numerous points. 

Misunderstanding between cultures can take many forms and has the capacity to result in widespread mistrust and insecurity. There is all too often ignorance about the values, culture, achievements, and history of different cultures, leading to misperceptions that produce reflexive and antagonistic stereotypes.

The ideas of inter-connectedness and mutual borrowing applies to all cultures of the world. We must remember that culture is a shared enterprise. Some of the greatest achievements of human history have resulted from collective efforts, built on the prior achievements of cultures whose golden age may have passed. It is important therefore for all of us to understand our shared history and the debt we owe to others, and to nurture a more positive and respectful global cultural relations.

It is my hope that this prize will contribute in a modest way to such positive global cultural understanding by highlighting and encouraging eminent work in this field.

Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan
Prize founder

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