Co-founder’s Message


When my good friend Tom Fat, the late San Diego civic leader and philanthropist, introduced me to the Kyoto Prize, I was deeply impressed and inspired by its mission to promote the betterment of humanity. Thus, it was a great honor to serve as the founding chairman of the Kyoto Symposium Organization, and to help reflect Dr. Kazuo Inamori’s philanthropic vision here in the United States.

We recognized the importance of the Kyoto Prize Symposium to the San Diego region, first as an invaluable resource for our youth and community at large, who now have the incredible opportunity to experience some of the most extraordinary minds and creative masters of the 21st Century through Symposium events each year. And secondly, we saw in the Kyoto Prize Symposium a means to showcase our region as an international center for high technology, scientific research, biotechnology and the arts – key areas recognized by the prize.

We also recognized that San Diego – as a conduit to Latin America and the Pacfiic Rim – was the ideal venue for an event that unites the U.S., Japan and Mexico. In a celebration of outstanding human achievement ours is the first Kyoto Prize Symposium venue outside of Japan.

Tom and I were privledged to share in the legacy of the Kyoto Prize Gala and Symposium through the one-of-a-kind laureate presentations and the Kyoto Scholarships – a program that provides funding to inspired college-bound high school seniors from San Diego and Tijuana. Now the legacy is there for you to enjoy. Please take time each spring to participate in Symposium events and be inspired by the best that society has to offer.


Malin Burnham
Co-founder and Director
Kyoto Symposium Organization