Laureates 2006

2006 Past - Preserving Cultural Heritage

Yo-Yo Ma


Yo-Yo Ma is a world-renowned cellist whose inspirations go well beyond the concert hall.

In 1998, Mr. Ma founded the Silk Road Project to study the ebb and flow of ideas among different cultures along the Silk Road, illuminating the heritages of its countries and identifying the voices that represent these traditions today. Mr. Ma's mission for the Silk Road Project is to plant the seeds of new artistic and cultural growth, and to celebrate living traditions and musical voices throughout the world.

The cultures studied by Yo-Yo Ma follow the routes that crisscrossed Eurasia-from China to the Mediterranean-from the first millennium B.C. through the middle of the second millennium A.D. Yo-Yo Ma has ventured beyond the traditional realms of musicianship, transforming himself, through his intellect as well as his artistry, into an educator and cultural explorer.

"Throughout my travels," he said, "I have thought about the culture, religions and ideas that have been influential along the historic Silk Road and have wondered how these complex interconnections occurred and how new musical voices were formed from the diversity of these traditions."

Mr. Ma's leadership, knowledge and hard work have provided us with a mosaic of artistic and educational programs. He has toured our nations and the world performing, and educating audiences on the importance of history and culture in our lives, and indeed, to the unity and peace we all seek for our planet. He has won the hearts of millions of people throughout the world with his outreach and education projects and with his sense of history and humanity, Mr. Ma has inspired hundreds of others to embrace and celebrate the diversity of our cultures.

The Silk Road Project will continue to act as an umbrella organization and common resource for a number of artistic, cultural, and educational programs. By examining the cultural diversity of the Silk Road, we enlarge our view of the world and also deepen our understanding of our own lives and culture. Through this, the Silk Road Project hopes to plant the sees of new artistic and cultural growth, and to celebrate living traditions and musical voices throughout the world.

The 2006 Dan David Prize honors Yo-Yo Ma in the field of Preserving Cultural Heritage for his significant contributions in this field, most outstanding being The Silk Road Project.