Chinese archaeologist Fan Jinshi was presented the 2019 LUI Che Woo Prize — Prize for World Civilisation on Thursday for her 56 years of dedication to the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu province. By building a digital archive of the art pieces, she has set new standards for successful cultural preservations.
Fan received the award, entitled the Positive Energy Prize, at the award ceremony in Hong Kong. Overcoming social, cultural and financial hardships, Fan spread positive energy to many and demonstrated unwavering determination to preserve the Mogao Grottoes, one of the world’s most important collections of Buddhist culture and other historical artefacts.
I think it is necessary to let more young people participate in preserving and disseminating traditional culture because they have more ideas and are good with new technology
“I came to Dunhuang in my 20s,” said the laureate. “I realized the importance of preserving this historical gem and world civilisation site. I think it is necessary to let more young people participate in preserving and disseminating traditional culture because they have more ideas and are good with new technology.”
The LUI Che Woo Prize also presented two other awards this year. The one under the sustainability category was presented to The Nature Conservancy, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of land and water. With over 1 million members in six continents, the organization works to tackle climate change, water scarcity, food shortages and other conservation challenges as one of the world’s most effective and wide-reaching environmental groups.
The third prize under the Welfare Betterment category went to Jennifer A. Doudna, inventor of a revolutionary genome-editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9. This allows genetic material to be added, removed or altered in animal and plant cells. This technology has been called one of the world’s most monumental discoveries for its potential to treat or prevent diseases like HIV and cancer.
Lui Che-woo, founder and chairman of the Broad of Governors cum Prize Council of the LUI Che Woo Prize, recalled old times when he founded the prize with a belief in “lasting serenity and shared harmony”. “Knowing that the hard-earned achievements of the laureates align with my vision for the prize, I feel nothing but happiness,” Lui told the ceremony.
After accepting her Prize, Fan, “the Daughter of Dunhuang”, said she and her team would make greater efforts to protect, study and promote Chinese civilization and cultural heritage. She said this was a tough but meaningful task requiring not only her own lifelong dedication, but also continuous contributions by future generations.
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