The Constantinople Prize celebrated its very first edition this Tuesday, May 10, under the chairmanship of the Swiss writer of Turkish origin Metin Arditi. The vocation of this new literary prize? Salute, for all of his work, an author who has worked to build a bridge between cultures and civilizations. The members of the jury have chosen to award the Constantinople Prize to not one, but two personalities whose commitment resonates perfectly with the spirit of the event: the Israeli Elie Barnavi and the Palestinian Elias Sanbar.
Emeritus Professor of Modern Western History at Tel Aviv University, Scientific Director of the Museum of Europe in Brussels, Israeli Ambassador to France from 2000 to 2002, Élie Barnavi is the author of a twenty books, including the essays Letter from an Israeli friend to the Palestinian friend (Flammarion), France and Israel, a passionate affair (Perrin) and the stories Jean Frydman, paintings of a life (Le Seuil) and Confessions of a Good-for-Nothing (Grasset). He had already been crowned, for all of his work, the Grand Prix de la Francophonie of the French Academy in 2007.
Born in Haifa, Palestine (now Israel) in 1947 and a refugee in Lebanon in 1948, Elias Sambar played a leading role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations between 1989 and 1997. He served as Palestine’s ambassador to the Unesco between 2011 and 2021. President of the Association for a National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Palestine, he is also a translator of Mahmoud Darwish. He has published in particular Palestine, the country to come (L’Olivier), the Love Dictionary of Palestine (Plon) or Being Arab with Farouk Mardam-Bey (Actes Sud). He also received the Grand Prix de la francophonie from the French Academy in 2005.
Bringing together writers Anne Berest, Dominique Bona from the French Academy, Jean-Paul Enthoven, Anne Fulda, Rachel Khan, Haïm Korsia, Jean-Luc Marion from the French Academy, Jean-René Van der Plaetsen, François Sureau from the French Academy and Michel Zink of the French Academy, the Constantinople Prize will be awarded each year in May and endowed with 10,000 euros per winner.