John Studzinski named Catholic of the Year for 2017 by the Catholic Herald

13 December 2017

The Catholic Herald has named John Studzinski Catholic of the Year for 2017. Luke Coppen, editor of The Catholic Herald, praised John Studzinski for “his outstanding but discreet efforts to combat modern slavery, encourage greater appreciation for spirituality and inspire a Catholic artistic revival.”

The theme of art and faith increasingly characterises aspects the Genesis Foundation’s work, of which John Studzinski is founder and chairman. 2017 saw John Studzinski and the Foundation fund the Living with gods exhibition at the British Museum. This major exhibition examines the practice and expression of religious beliefs in the lives of individuals and communities across the world since the Ice Age. Supporting the museum’s ex-director and long-term partner of the Genesis Foundation, Neil MacGregor, John Studzinski said: “We’re living in a period where people are searching for meaning and substance in their lives. This exhibition is a welcome opportunity to shed light on faith in these challenging times and to remind people that there’s a deeper part of themselves that they can access if they are patient and take a chance to trust that place within them.”

2017 also saw the release of the album of Sir James MacMillan’s Stabat mater, commissioned by John Studzinski and the Genesis Foundation. The album has received several awards and has been chosen by many critics and publications as one of their Albums of the Year for 2017. MacMillan’s Stabat mater is a critically acclaimed “modern masterpiece,” a powerful interpretation of Mary’s suffering, standing at the foot of the Cross, in which his belief that “beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith” is profoundly present.

In October 2017, John Studzinski was awarded the UK Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award for his work with the Genesis Foundation in nurturing excellence among young artists. He joins a prestigious list of recipients of this award which includes HRH Prince Charles, Robert Wilson, Quincy Jones, Renzo Piano and Sir Simon Rattle.

Mr Studzinski has been an anti-modern slavery campaigner for many years. He is Director Emeritus of Human Rights Watch and is Co-founder and Chair of the Arise Foundation, which partners with local networks to stop human trafficking. In November 2017, Mr Studzinski was invited to join the Evening Standard’s anti-human trafficking panel, chaired by Cardinal Nichols, comprising leading figures from business, law, philanthropy and the media, to compile a report and devise recommendations for the Santa Marta conference early next year.

Mr Studzinski holds the Papal honours of Knight of the Order of St. Gregory and Knight Commander of Saint Sylvester and in 2004 was awarded the Beacon Prize for Philanthropy. In 2008, the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List named him Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the Arts and Charity.

John Studzinski is the third recipient of the Herald’s Catholic of the Year distinction. He follows Sir James MacMillan and Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth.

Read the full story, here.