The Genesis Prize Foundation has announced actress, director, and activist Natalie Portman as its 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate.
The annual $1 million award honors individuals for their outstanding professional achievement and commitment to Jewish values and the Jewish people. Born Neta-Lee Hershlag in Israel, Portman moved to the United States as a child, began her acting career at the age of 12, and has won an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and the British Academy of Film and Television Award. A graduate of Harvard University, she is also known for her activism in areas such as gender equality, poverty, microfinance, and animal rights.
As with prizes awarded to previous Genesis Prize laureates, the $1 million award will be donated to philanthropic efforts in Portman's honor, with a focus on promoting women's health and safety, educational and economic opportunities for women, and women's full participation in policy making and politics. A significant portion of the funds will be directed to programs aimed at advancing women's equality in Israel.
"I am deeply touched and humbled by this honor," said Portman. "I am proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage; they are crucial parts of who I am. It is such a privilege to be counted among the outstanding laureates whom I admire so much. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Genesis Prize Foundation, and look forward to using the global platform it provides to make a difference in the lives of women in Israel and beyond."
(Photo credit: Independent, via Genesis Prize Foundation)