The reasons why a Foundation puts intellectual energy and material resources to use are a direct expression of its traditions, and can be found in its history.
Half a century ago, when Lina Balzan
decided to honour the memory of her father Eugenio
and further his principles by using his considerable estate in the work of promoting knowledge, she began an exemplary tradition of philanthropy, which had solid foundations in the personal vicissitudes of a young man from Badia Polesine who became a leading figure in the cultural life of Milan.
In these fifty years, the Balzan Foundation has reached the milestone of one hundred prizewinners
. It has given its philanthropic work a new image which is personal and can be recognised on an international level. Its authoritativeness is due to the valour of its prizewinners and from its ability to use their example to give life to a virtuous cycle of stimuli to research and to the elaboration of new concepts and experiences that can enrich science and culture and the most meritorious of humanitarian initiatives.
In order to maintain this firmly established tradition, the Balzan Foundation can count on strong guarantors: the shrewd administration of the estate in Zurich by the "Fund" Foundation
and the sensitive and resolute direction of scientific and cultural activities by the "Prize" Foundation
in Milan, which guarantees impartiality and pertinent judgement through the work of the General Prize Committee
. Composed of eminent European scholars and scientists, the Committee is currently chaired by Professor Salvatore Veca, and has been chaired by such renowned personalities as Professor Antonio Carrelli, Senator Carlo Bo and Ambassador Sergio Romano in the past.
The aims and purposes of the International Balzan Prize Foundation will not change in the future. Ensuring that they are always met will depend on the Foundation's ability to understand and interpret the new needs of an ever-evolving world. It will also depend on the continuation of its Prize and initiatives, and how they are received by the academic community and by society as a whole.