JGU Commissioner for Scotland Sigrid Rieuwerts receives 2021 Constance Council Prize

Laureate proposal by Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

3 December 2021


The "Constance Council Prize. Prize for European Encounters and Dialog" will be awarded in 2021 to PD Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). With this award, the Board of Trustees of the Constance Council Prize, at the suggestion of this year's patron, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, honors Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts' remarkable commitment to numerous cross-border educational projects and cultural relations as well as the promotion of tolerance and intercultural understanding. Scotland's first female First Minister is herself a convinced European and advocate of these European values.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "So many individuals and organizations are doing excellent work to promote European engagement and unity, which made choosing a winner immensely challenging. Dr. Rieuwerts' work to promote student exchange, particularly through the excellent GET-SET-GO scheme, has made a significant difference to the lives of young people in Scotland and Germany. Freedom and human dignity are both core values of the European Union, which the Scottish Government shares intrinsically. They are inherent in Dr. Rieuwerts' efforts to promote cross-border culture through the Scotland Hub in Mainz and to help German and Scottish students engage with refugees and embrace the opportunities and challenges Europe has to offer."

The 2021 recipient of the Constance Council Prize has been a lecturer in the English Department at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz since 1997 and her focus in teaching and research is primarily on Scottish history, culture, and literature. Dr. Rieuwerts' research has received several awards in Scotland, including a Fellowship of the Royal Society in Edinburgh. She was appointed Commissioner for Scotland by Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 2020. She founded the Scotland Hub at JGU, a platform to promote German-Scottish relations and the understanding and appreciation of Scotland's history, culture, and languages in Germany. Among other things, Dr. Rieuwerts has taken on the supervision and management of a translation project with Scottish artists and writers, invited by the Cultural Foundation of Rhineland-Palatinate, and launched the cultural webinar series "Reading Scotland", which facilitates a dialog between researchers, creative artists and an interested public in Scotland and Germany.

Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts was also instrumental in the signing of the partnership agreement on education, science, and culture between Scotland and Rhineland-Palatinate in March 2021. As early as 2012, she initiated the GET-SET-GO program in cooperation with the German Consulate General in Edinburgh. This places around 25 student teachers as German language assistants in Scottish schools each year and invites Scottish students to Rhineland-Palatinate to participate in school placements or projects promoting diversity, tolerance, and inclusion. In addition, Dr. Rieuwerts and her team organize numerous intercultural projects such as "Global Outreach – Global Citizen (GO)"-programs for Scottish and German students dealing with socio-political issues such as migration or climate change.

"I am very pleased on behalf of the City of Constance that we have been able to win Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as two outstanding personalities and committed advocates of European values for the Council Prize. It is a great honor for me to welcome both of them to Constance next year and to be able to honor their commitment," said Lord Mayor of Constance, Uli Burchardt.

Due to the current pandemic situation and drastically increasing infection numbers, the organizers have decided to postpone the public presentation of the Council Prize until 2022.

The Constance Council Prize

The City of Constance and the Constance Council Association are committed to the European idea with the Constance Council Prize and continue the idea of the anniversary "600 Years of the Council of Constance". The "Constance Council Prize. Prize for European Encounters and Dialog" is awarded to individuals or initiatives who have made a special commitment to a Europe of encounters and have contributed to the dialog on Europe and its future. The prize was initiated by a board of trustees committed to Europe and is comprising personalities from politics, business and society. The sponsorship model of the Constance Council Prize provides for a Europe-wide known sponsor to nominate a prize winner who is committed to European encounters and dialog, thus helping the awardee to gain greater publicity. The Constance Council Prize is endowed with EUR 10,000 and has been awarded every two years since 2015. The prize winner also receives a sash as a distinction, which is woven from five ribbons to symbolize the diversity of Europe. The sash is unique: the names of the sponsor and the laureate are embroidered on the occasion of each award, so that the ribbon becomes a testimony to European commitment over time.

The previous patrons and award winners:

  • 2019: First President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy awarded Mohamed El Bachiri.
  • 2017: Reinhard Cardinal Marx awarded Prelate Dr Peter Klasvogt.
  • 2015: Writer Adolf Muschg awarded theater-maker Milo Rau.