The Rita Levi-Montalcini Prize for scientific cooperation between Italy and Israel was awarded today at an online ceremony attended by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marina Sereni, the Minister of Universities and Research, Maria Cristina Messa, the Ambassador of Italy to Israel, Gianluigi Benedetti, and the Ambassador of Israel to Italy, Dror Eydar.
The winner of this 2020 edition of the Prize, dedicated to the theme “New technologies for an enhanced knowledge, fruition, and communication of the cultural heritage”, is the Israeli historian Gadi Algazi, a scholar of the social and intellectual history of European Jewry, for his participation in the “Mutina Hebraica” project presented by the Interdepartmental Research Centre on Digital Humanities of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Unimore).
Gadi Algazi and his Italian partners will enhance the documentation preserved in the Modena Archives – relating to the history of one of the most important Jewish communities in Italy – through a dialogue between digital humanities and Jewish history, with an approach that makes use of computer tools for the automated reading of manuscripts and the application of artificial intelligence to text analysis.
The Rita Levi-Montalcini Prize – sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, CRUI Foundation and the Ministry of Universities and Research – is one of the most important initiatives in the burgeoning technological and industrial cooperation between Italy and Israel. Every year it selects and finances a bilateral scientific cooperation project that involves a residence of an Israeli scholar of high international renown, for at least four months, at the Italian host institution.
“Rita Levi-Montalcini was an incredibly important figure. Her life continues to be a source of inspiration for everyone, especially at this time of pandemic, which has shown us the importance of supporting research and international cooperation,” said Vice Minister Sereni in her speech. “The Scientific, Technological and Industrial Agreement between Italy and Israel – which includes the award we are presenting today – is a valuable instrument. Under its umbrella, we have co-financed a number of initiatives in many different sectors. I hope that today’s event will further encourage Italian-Israeli exchanges, creating new links between our scientific communities”.