Board of the Foundation "Fund" Zurich

Development of the Balzan Prizes

According to its statutes, the Foundation Board of the Balzan Foundation "Prize" determines the categories, the number, and the amount of the Balzan Prizes. Depending on the financial resources that are available, the number of prizes each year can be limited to two, or even only one.

Based on the amounts that the Balzan Foundation "Fund" could make available, the Balzan Foundation "Prize" has awarded the following Balzan Prizes:

1979 – 1987: CHF 750,000 = 3 prizes of CHF 250,000
1988 – 1990: CHF 900,000 = 3 prizes of CHF 300,000
1991 – 1995: CHF 1,050,000 = 3 prizes of CHF 350,000
1996 – 1998: CHF 1,500,000 = 3 prizes of CHF 500,000
1999 – 2000: CHF 2,000,000 = 4 prizes of CHF 500,000
2001 – 2010: CHF 4,000,000 = 4 prizes of CHF 1,000,000 (*)
from 2011 CHF 3,000,000 = 4 prizes of CHF 750,000 (*)

(*) Half of the amount to be used for research projects nominated by the Prize Winner

The amounts of the six prizes awarded since 1979 for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood Among Peoples were each double the amounts of the other prizes. Since 2014 it amounts to one million Swiss francs.

International Eugenio Balzan Prize Foundation - "Fund"

The International Balzan Prize Foundation "Fund" was established in 1961 as a Swiss legal entity with its own legal identity. Its headquarters is in Zurich. It is managed by a Foundation Board consisting of seven members, two of whom are representatives of the Italian and Swiss governments respectively. The Balzan Foundation "Fund" is a charitable foundation under Swiss law and is overseen by the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs.

The mission of the Balzan Foundation "Fund" is „to collect, protect and administer the property so as to place at the disposal of the International Balzan Foundation "Prize" the necessary financial means to realize its objective.“

The Foundation Board of the Balzan Foundation "Fund" wishes to inform that it has commissioned four renowned Swiss banks with the management of its assets. The asset management is based on clearly defined and conservative investment guidelines similar to those that apply to institutional investors such as public pension funds. In particular, the Foundation Board has prohibited investments in speculative instruments and in structured products.

Based on the continuously increasing income from its managed assets in the nineteen-nineties, the Balzan Foundation "Fund" could successively increase the total value of the Balzan prizes. This policy corresponds with the statutory stipulations of the Balzan Foundation "Fund", according to which the income from the assets is not to be reinvested in the Balzan Foundation "Fund" but to be used primarily for accomplishing the goals of the Foundation "Prize".

However, in view of the continuing great uncertainty regarding the development of the financial markets, and the currently very low return from the investment markets, the Board of the Balzan Foundation "Fund" has precautionarily reduced the total prize money since 2011 to three million Swiss francs. This decision also takes into account the strong increase in value of the Swiss franc, not only relative to the euro but also to the US dollar. Therefore the four Balzan Prizes amount to 750,000 Swiss francs each, with half of the prize money in each case being designated for research projects.

Gisèle Girgis-Musy (Switzerland)


Member of the Steering Board of Caritas Switzerland; executive council member of the Fondation Jean Monnet pour l'Europe; former delegate of the Swiss Federal Council for National Economic Supply; former member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Migros cooperatives

André Bandi (Switzerland)


Partner at Survista Financial Advisors AG; Certified Financial Analyst (SFAA); Certified International Wealth Manager CIWM; Member of the Swiss Financial Analyst Association (SFAA)

Luisa Bürkler-Giussani (Switzerland)


Attorney at Law; board member of the Cancer League Canton Zurich; Vice President of the Hirzel-Callegari Foundation

Enrico Decleva (Italy)


Former Full Professor of Contemporary History; former Rector of  the State University of Milan; former President of the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI)

Carlo Fontana (Italy)


President of Agis (Associazione Generale Italiana dello Spettacolo), former Senator of the Italian Republic; former General Manager of Teatro alla Scala of Milan

Stefan Gerster (Switzerland)


Dr. iur., LL.M., Certified Specialist SBA Construction and Real Estate Law
Partner of CMS von Erlach Poncet Ltd.
Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS)
Lecturer at the University of Zurich, Center for Urban & Real Estate Management (CUREM)

Laura Sadis (Switzerland)


MA (Economics), Swiss Taxation Expert; member of the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); former member of the Swiss National Council; former State Councillor of the Canton Ticino, head of the Department of Financial and Economic Affairs

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