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Oxford History Professor donates prize money to the Ukrainian Army

Oxford history professor, Timothy Garton Ash, was recently awarded the prestigious Lionel Gelber Prize 2024 and donated his prize money to the Ukrainian army. His most recent book, Homelands, which was awarded the prize, “tells the story of Europe in the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.”

Garton Ash, St. Anthony’s Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, received approximately £29,000 in prize money. He has donated the full sum towards purchase of drones and night vision equipment for the Ukrainian army. 

Garton Ash visited Kyiv and Lviv this week for the presentation of the Ukrainian version of his book. While in Kyiv, Garton Ash said: “I can think of no better use for a prize received for a book about recent European history than to donate it towards equipping the Ukrainian Armed Forces for victory. Because nothing less than the future of Europe is at stake in this war.”

According to Come Back Alive, a charity to which Garton Ash donated the prize money, it was used to buy four DJI Mavic 3T quadcopters, ten thermal imaging monoculars, ten night vision monoculars and mounts for PNB, as well as four  Minox monoculars. 

Garton Ash told Cherwell he chose this equipment because it is what Come Back Alive, who are experts in aiding the Ukrainian armed forces, said they most needed. He added:“this war is different from all earlier wars because of the almost total visibility of the front line for both sides, given by such reconnaissance drones.”

Regarding the  decrease in focus the Ukraine War has recently received internationally and in Oxford, Garton Ash told Cherwell: “Our students are absolutely right to be deeply, deeply concerned about what is happening in Gaza, but I would ask them not to forget about what is happening in the Ukraine.” 

He added that the Ukraine War’s longevity and casaulty levels in the hundreds of thousands make it one of the most significant wars in Europe since 1945. “I hope people will want to pay attention to it too,” he said.

Aside from Homelands, Garton Ash has written ten books mostly about Europe and European history. Additionally, throughout his career he has contributed to The New York Review of Books, The Independent, The Times, and The Spectator.

Garton Ash was also a columnist on foreign affairs in the Independent and the Foreign Editor of the Spectator. Before receiving the Lionel Gelber Prize, Garton Ash received, among others, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Prix Européen de l’Essai and George Orwell Prize.

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