Nigerian Professor Saheed Aderinto Wins $300,000 History Prize

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Saheed Aderinto, a Nigerian professor of history and studies of the African diaspora, has won the 2023 Dan David Prize.

Aderinto, who was a professor at Florida International University, was one of nine winners announced Tuesday with historical research entries worth $300,000 each.

Announcing the winners, Prof. Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University and Chair of the Dan David Prize Committee, described the work of the nine winners as representative of outstanding research in history and related fields.

He said, “The nine recipients exemplify outstanding research in history and related fields. They were chosen by a committee of international experts, following an open nomination process.

“Their scholarship reflects the interests of Dan David, the founder of the prize who was a businessman with a passion for archeology and history.”

Of the winners, Porat said, “They are academics and professionals with the potential to transform their fields in the future and we hope this award will help them do that.”

Aderinto took to Facebook to celebrate his victory and expressed his excitement at what he described as the discipline’s largest financial reward in the discipline’s history.

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Yes! I just won the largest history prize in the world. It’s $300,000. For me, alone. One lump sum. 220 million, in Nigerian currency,” he said.

“I have just received the highest financial reward for excellence in the historical discipline, on planet earth. It’s a prize, not a grant. I don’t think there is any history prize worth $100,000 in cash — much less $300,000.

“While 300k is a lot of money in any strong global currency, the true value of the Dan David Prize is not the cash per se but what it would help me do for my students and mentees, institutions, global infrastructure of knowledge, and communities of practice. Hence, the award is about my scholarly achievement as much as about the people, institutions, and communities I represent.”

Aderinto said the selection committee commended his work for “putting African history at the forefront of the diverse literature on the history of sexuality, non-human life and violence and recognizing that it is extraordinary to see a person who conducts studies in all these areas”.

The Dan David Prize was established in 2000 with a donation from Romanian-born Israeli businessman and philanthropist Dan David.

Between 2001 and 2021, I gave $1 million each to three amazing, extraordinary people in science, medicine, public health, politics, business, art and literature.

Previous recipients are Dr. Anthony Fauci, the public face of America’s fight against COVID-19; former US Vice President Al Gore; and MIT economics professor and Nobel laureate Esther Duflo.

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