Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, will receive the 2020 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity.

Allen will collaborate with the Library on an initiative she has designed, titled “Our Common Purpose — A Campaign for Civic Strength at the Library of Congress.” It will include initiatives to engage schools, universities, political leaders, and the American public in efforts to promote civic engagement. As Allen has said, “Civic education is our common purpose.”

“We are proud to honor Danielle Allen, a leading expert on justice, citizenship and democracy, with the Kluge Prize as she helps to lead a timely national conversation on how we find our common purpose,” Hayden said. “Now is an important moment to discuss ways we can all promote civic strength and engagement, which is at the core of our national culture.”

Allen is the principal investigator of the Democratic Knowledge Project, a K-16 educational platform designed to identify and disseminate the knowledge and capacities required for democratic citizenship. She is also co-chair of a bipartisan commission, convened by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which on June 11 recommended 31 steps to strengthen American institutions and civic culture to help a nation in crisis emerge with a more resilient democracy.

As a frequent public lecturer, contributing columnist for The Washington Post, and regular guest on public radio, she discusses issues of citizenship and policy. In her role as director of the E.J. Safra Center, Allen has spearheaded an initiative helping to guide the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am deeply honored to be Dr. Hayden’s selection for the Kluge Prize and to be among the prestigious company of past winners,” Allen said. “I look forward to working with the Library of Congress in the coming months on Our Common — to promote civic education and engagement among Americans of all ages.”

The Kluge Prize recognizes individuals whose outstanding scholarship in the humanities and social sciences has shaped public affairs and civil society. The international prize highlights the value of researchers who communicate beyond the scholarly community and have had a major impact on social and political issues. The prize comes with a $500,000 award. Additional funds from the Library’s Kluge endowment, which funds the award, are being invested in Kluge Center programming.

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