After talking about the economic challenges of the 21st century, Barroso continued: "This is not only about economic prosperity. This is also about a more inclusive and cohesive society. This is about giving each individual a chance to fulfil her or his potential. This is about how our society changes and improves. This is why education, research and innovation are at the very heart of what we have decided to call the Europe 2020 strategy, our European blueprint to get the economy back on track over the course of this decade."
Luisa Passerini is professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, visiting Professor at Columbia University, New York, and former professor of Cultural History at the University of Turin, Italy. She heads the ERC funded research project "Bodies Across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond" (BABE) which aims to understand new forms of European identity. Luisa Passerini´s further research fields include History of subjectivity, including forms of European identity, Gender and generations or Diasporic subjectivities.
In his opening remarks, Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President and chairman of the prize jury, pointed out with reference to President Barroso's initiative 'A New Narrative for Europe': "We as academies felt invited to contribute and to help creating new narratives. One of these symbolic – as I would call them – narratives, is the creation of the 'Madame de Staël prize' for European scholars working in the field of European values."
ALLEA has established the "All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values", awarded for the first time in 2014, in order to display the boundless intellectual and cultural diversity and richness of Europe and to highlight outstanding contributions of scholarly work, particularly in the fields of the humanities and social sciences. It will be awarded biennially and is endowed with 25,000 Euro, co-sponsored by the "Stiftung Mercator", one of the largest private foundations in Germany.