United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


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To mark the 1,000th birth anniversary of the most influential of Islam’s philosopher-scientists, UNESCO minted this commemorative medal in 1980. Abu Ali al-Husain Ibn Abdallah Ibn Sina was known in Europe as Avicenna.A healer and a humanist, Avicenna developed an exemplary holistic approach that captures the essence of ethics in science and has thus come to serve as a source of inspiration for the promotion of this concern, which is of central importance to UNESCO.

Designed by sculptor-medallist Victor Douek, the obverse depicts a scene showing Avicenna surrounded by his disciples, inspired by a miniature in a 17th-century Turkish manuscript. Reproduced on the reverse is a phrase by Avicenna in Arabic and Latin which means, “Cooperate for the well-being of the body and the survival of the human species” as well as the signature attributed to Avicenna.

At the initiative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, UNESCO established the Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science in 2002. The awardee receives a gold medal.

Available in gold, silver and bronze

Photo © UNESCO/N. Burke

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