Kurdish Fields Medal laureate receives 'People's Award' in London

“I am honored to be considered for the award. I hope that in the future, other capable Kurds can win the award.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a private ceremony on Sunday in the United Kingdom, the Kurdish “People’s Award” was handed to Caucher Birkar, a Kurd who previously won the prestigious Fields Medal in 2018, often called “the mathematician’s Nobel Prize.”

The award was presented to Birkar, a Cambridge University professor in mathematics, during a ceremony at the Kensington and Chelsea town hall in London.

“I am honored to be considered for the award,” Birkar told Kurdistan 24. “I hope that in the future, other capable Kurds can win the award.”

According to the Kurdish “People’s Award” Group, its members include volunteers from different backgrounds who believe in a future Kurdistan which reflects peace, love, and cultural understanding.

Shahen Sabery, a member of the “People’s Award” Group, said the prize is given “to those who can innovate to serve humanity and proudly represent the Kurdish people.”

“It is not necessary for the recipient to be a Kurd, but they must be an individual who serves the greater good of their people,” Sabery told Kurdistan 24.  

In 2018, Birkar was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal, also known as the Nobel Prize for mathematics. The prize is presented every four years to candidates under 40 years old who are recognized for their significant contributions in the field of mathematics.

Earlier this year, Birkar was also presented an honorary doctorate from Erbil’s Salahaddin University.

Born Fereydoun Derakhshani, Birkar took on a new name shortly after arriving in the UK.

“I changed my name to Caucher Birkar [Kurdish for ‘migrant mathematician’] because I wanted it to reflect my personality,” he told Kurdistan 24 at the event in Erbil, adding the name is also meant to convey someone “voyaging through mathematics.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

(Additional reporting by Barzan Hassan)