Leo Polak Thesis Prize 2017

Every year, the Foundation Leo Polak presents two prizes available for a master’s thesis. The themes for 2017 are: Populism, Digitalisation and meaning in life and “Completed life”. The prize is intended for students at a Dutch-speaking university or for Dutch-speaking Belgians and Dutchmen at a foreign university who have completed a master’s thesis in the academic year. Submission deadline: Sunday 1 October.

The assessment criteria are:

  • Scientific quality
  • Originality
  • Presentation and design

The thesis must be assessed by a member of the scientific staff of a Dutch university or Dutch-speaking Belgian university. Only this person is allowed to submit the thesis. The thesis itself should be submitted under a pseudonym, i.e. the name of the author (s) may not in any way be listed on or in the thesis. The thesis is written in the Dutch or English language.

The prizes (first prize: € 1.250; second prize: € 500) will be awarded by an independent jury. The members of the jury are:

  • Drs. Leo Samama: musicologist, composer, president of the Leo Polak Foundation
  • Prof. dr. Joachim Duyndam, professor of humanism and philosophy
  • Prof. dr. Alexander Maas,  extraordinary professor of the discipline humanization of care
  • Dr. Els van Wijngaarden, ‎lecturer and researcher Care Ethics
  • Wim Blokland, humanisticus

For further information:
Secretariat of the Leo Polak thesis prize, Inge-Marlies Bulsink
The University of Humanistic Studies
Postbus 797
3500 AT Utrecht
tel. 030 2390119
email  i.m.bulsink@uvh.nl

Submissions solely as a Word file on USB stick or CD-R, accompanied by 3 printed copies and a recommendation letter from the thesis supervisor why the thesis is eligible for a price. Submit at the above mentioned address.

Leo Polak

The philosopher and criminal law theorist, freethinker and atheist Leo Polak (1880-1941) was from 1928 until his death Professor of History of Philosophy, Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Groningen. Being a Jew, in 1940 he was forbidden by the occupying power to continue working at the university. He was arrested and died late 1941 in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In his work he has contributed much to the philosophy of law, the problems of war and peace and ethics.

Polak was a source of inspiration for philosophers, lawyers, humanists and reformers, polemologists and reformers of criminal law and of sexual morality. He was the inspirator for the People’s University and held numerous recitations for the Freethinkers Radio Broadcasting Association. As a freethinker and humanist, Polak was convinced that in order to attain unity among humans, ‘reason’ should by all means be preferred above the ‘division in faith’. The awareness of a fundamental commitment and cohesiveness of all people among each other, a bond that goes beyond all other forms of collectivity, was for Polak the core of humanism.

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