Through a body of work shaped by an ancient tradition, Idries Shah espoused a belief in being the best possible form of oneself. Many of the thousands of stories he published document the trials and tribulations of Mankind on its journey – celebrating perseverance, ingenuity, and original thought.

We are proud to announce the establishment of a series of honours – The ISF Awards for Human Achievement – to be presented annually to those who have championed the values so central to Shah’s life and work.

Taking the form of gilded ormolu medallions, the awards will be crafted by Spink & Son, medallists to Queen Elizabeth II. They shall be presented each year to four outstanding women, four men, and to a foundation or charitable organisation. In addition, a posthumous award will also be made.

The Trustees are delighted to announce the recipients for the 2019 ISF Awards, and congratulate them all for their extraordinary contributions to human achievement.


  • Dr. Jane Goodall: Anthropologist & primatologist
  • Robyn Davidson: Legendary explorer
  • Herta Müller: Novelist & Nobel Laureate
  • Lisa Alther: Best-selling novelist
  • Sir David Attenborough: Renowned environmentalist & film maker
  • Chris Hadfield: Astronaut & former Commander of the International Space Station
  • Dr. Desmond Morris: Anthropologist & author
  • Dr. James Lovelock: Originator of The Gaia Hypothesis

Foundation Award

  • International Crisis Group: Leading NGO dedicated to conflict resolution.

Posthumous Award

  • Jorge Luis Borges: Argentine author, poet, and essayist.