History department emeritus professors Saul Friedländer and Giorgio Buccellati, along with Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, a research associate at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, will accept the Balzan Prize on July 1 in Bern, Switzerland.

Every year, the International Balzan Prize Foundation highlights four scholars, or groups of scholars, for exceptional achievements in research and culture. The prize carries an award of 750,000 Swiss francs ($818,000). Prize winners must earmark half their prize to finance research projects that will be carried out by young scholars or scientists. From 2001-20, the Balzan Prize has funded 79 research projects in all academic disciplines.

Giorgio and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati won the 2021 Balzan Prize for art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. They are being recognized for their achievements in the study of Near East Bronze Age culture, highlighting its importance as the foundation of a great urban civilization, and promoting a digital approach to the study of archaeology. 

Giorgio Buccellati, a research professor in the Cotsen Institute, founded the Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. He was its first director from 1973-83 and is now director of the Mesopotamian Lab. He and his wife Marilyn have conducted fieldwork and published about the ancient city of Urkesh, a dig site near Tell Mozan, in northeastern Syria. 

Friedländer, winner of the 2021 Balzan Prize for Holocaust and genocide studies, is being honored for his impact on the development of Holocaust studies. He is recognized for writing an integrated history of the persecution and extermination of European Jews that spans several books. 

Friedländer has Israeli and American nationality. Born as Pavel in 1932 in Prague to a family of German-speaking Jews, his parents hid him in a Catholic institution in France before they were deported to Auschwitz. He began teaching in UCLA’s history department in 1988 and is still an active scholar.