The Tang Prize Looks to Local Cultural Landmarks for Its Award Ceremonies (udn)

  • The Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center
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2020-01-03 08:58 Taipei (udn)

The long-established Nobel Foundation has always been held in high esteem in the global academic community, but hardly do people notice that they had actually “moved house” before, so the award ceremony hasn’t been in the same location for the past 120 years. Likewise, while the Tang Prize Foundation chose the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall as its venue for the first three award ceremonies, it will celebrate this significant occasion in a new place in 2020, as a way to illustrate a different side of Chinese culture.


The Nobel Prize was awarded for the first time in 1901. Alfred Nobel wrote in his will that “the prizes for physics and chemistry are to be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiological or medical achievements by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm.” With the exception of the Prize in Physiology or Medicine, all the prizes were announced and presented by the Royal Academies. Therefore, the ceremony was held at the old Royal Swedish Academy of Music from 1901 to 1925.


After the Stockholm Concert Hall was inaugurated in 1926, it has been where the Nobel Award ceremony takes place. Its two main functions are to house the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and to host the annual presentation of the Nobel prizes.

Group photo of the winners and award presenters of the 2018 Tang Prize, with the founder (center) and the CEO (far right)

The first three Tang Prize Award Ceremony were held in the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, but there is something different this time as the fourth one will take place at the Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center that opened in 2016. These two buildings are both spacious enough to accommodate thousands of people. In addition, as two prominent landmarks in Taiwan, they both carry profound cultural implication. The National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was built as a reflection of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s belief that we should love our neighbors as ourselves and that all under heaven are equal. It is aimed to promote Chinese culture and preserve Chinese heritage. Therefore, the building itself is a perfect manifestation of the commitment of the Tang Prize: to take responsibility for the betterment of the world. On the other hand, the Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center is an edifice that emphasizes the influence of cultural inheritance and reminds us of how art can ennoble our soul. It is an important port where Taiwan exports its tradition to the world and thus is a perfect embodiment of the message the Tang Prize wants to deliver: Asia’s significance in relation to the rest of the world.


Established in 2012, the Tang Prize has gradually earned its international reputation over the past 8 years. Its laureates are not only renowned for their original research and remarkable contributions but are also often named the worthy candidates for a Nobel Prize. After the first Tang Prize winners in Biopharmaceutical Science, Dr. James P. Allison and Prof. Tasuku Honjo, were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 2018, people have also started to see the Tang Prize as one of the signposts for the Nobel Prize.


2020 is the year of the 4th Tang Prize Award Ceremony. The winners will be announced on 4 consecutive days from June 18 to 21, followed by the Tang Prize week when the ceremony will take place on September 25 at the Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center. Other main events scheduled for the same week include the reception, award ceremony, banquet, laureates’ lectures and masters’ forums, in all of which your participation will be eagerly anticipated.