National Humanities Medal Awarded to JTF Grantee Krista Tippett

Photo Credit: Krista Tippett
Photo Credit: Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett has received a National Humanities Medal, the annual American award for deepening the nation’s engagement with the humanities. Creator and presenter of the radio show On Being and John Templeton Foundation grantee, Tippett received the award at a ceremony at the White House on Monday, July 28th. The National Endowment for the Humanities recognized Tippett for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence” and for avoiding “easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of all faiths, no faith, and every background to join the conversation.”

On Being is an award-winning public radio and online conversation focused on the Big Questions at the center of human life, such as “what does it mean to be human?” and “how do we want to live?” The program aims to address these issues in full knowledge of the complexity of life in the twenty-first century, and works to “pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge.”

Tippett created the show, originally called Speaking of Faith, in 2003. It now airs to more than 330 public radio stations across the United States. Recent programs have included two episodes partly funded by the Foundation featuring Ellen Langer and Jonathan Haidt, which explored the psychology of change. Physicists Brian Greene and Leonard Mlodinow have also appeared on the show, as well as mathematician Jim Bradley and philosopher Michael Ruse in a joint interview on the science-religion debate.

There were 10 recipients of the National Humanities Medal for 2013. The program was established in 1997 and up to 12 medals are awarded each year.

“I am so honored by this recognition,” Tippett says. “It’s an affirmation of the vision behind our project of the past 10 years, that it should be possible to create intelligent, robust conversation about meaning and morality, across our divides—to open imaginations and possibilities rather than shutting them down.”