2012 Balzan Prize for Jurisprudence
Acceptance Speech – Rome, 14.11.2012
Chairmen of the Balzan Foundation and Members of the General Prize Committee,
I am happy and honoured to accept the wonderful Balzan Prize. It has a splendid symbolism in its foundation and in its design. It celebrates freedom and justice in its name. Eugenio Balzan was a distinguished journalist and publisher who exiled himself from his native Italy in protest against the Fascism he despised. It acknowledges the crucial importance of strong interaction between academic and political life, symbolized today by generous hospitality of the President of the Italian Republic.
The terms of the prize represent elegantly, moreover, the several dimensions of academic and intellectual life. The prize looks back to notice what mature scholars, like the four of us, have done with their time and with society’s support, and to signal approval. It looks forward by asking us to continue our work into new research: it offers no laurels to rest on. Best of all, it looks beyond the immediate future: it recognizes the importance of continuity and renewal in our professions by encouraging us to recruit and engage young scholars in our own work.It recognizes, finally, a further, independent, ideal of scholarship: the high importance of making a scholar’s work available to an audience beyond his profession. It serves that goal through the Balzan Forums when scholars are invited to try to explain their work to a non-professional but interested public. We will have such a forum tomorrow. I look forward to that occasion and hope to see many of you there.