Class of 1943 University Professor of Near Eastern Studies Michael A. Cook has been awarded the 2020 Middle East Medievalists Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of long and distinguished contributions to the fields of Islamic and Middle East Studies and to the promotion of the profession at large.
Previously to this honor, Cook had won the 2019 Balzan Prize for Islamic Studies, the 2014 Holberg Prize, "awarded annually to a scholar who has made outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities, social science, law or theology, either in one of these fields or through interdisciplinary work," and the 2008 Farabi International Award in the Humanities and Islamic Sciences (Tehran). He has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews (2019) and the University of Leiden (2013), was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 2011, and has been a member of the American Philosophical Society since 2001 and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2004. In 2002 he was awarded a Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award, and in 2006 he was awarded Princeton's Behrman Award for distinguished achievement in the humanities. At Princeton's Commencement ceremonies in 2016, he received one of four President’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching. His book Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought won both the 2001 Middle East Studies Association Albert Hourani Book Prize, which recognizes the very best in Middle East studies scholarship, and the 2002 Kuwait British Friendship Society Book Prize. The New Cambridge History of Islam, of which Cook was the General Editor, won the 2011 American Historical Association Waldo G. Leland Prize for the “most outstanding reference tool in the field of history” published between May 1, 2006, and April 30, 2011.
Cook is the second winner of this award with Princeton ties, the first being Fred Donner, NES Ph.D. 1975.