Jimmy Wales, the founder of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, is to receive the 2011 Gottlieb Duttweiler prize, worth SFr100,000 ($103,000).
In its announcement of the prize on Friday, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, based in Rüschlikon, near Zurich, said Wales was being honoured for “his contribution to the democratisation of the access to knowledge”.
It praised Wales for his desire to “share his knowledge and pass it on”.
The prize will be presented on January 26, when a tribute will be paid by Roger de Weck, the director designate of swissinfo’s parent organisation, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
The institute and prize are named after the founder of the Migros supermarket cooperatives.
The money comes from a donation of SFr200,000 by Migros to Duttweiler on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1958 to establish a prize to be awarded to people who have made "outstanding contributions to the well-being of the wider community and to a cultural, social or economic environment in which everyone can realise their potential and play an independent part in its development".
The prize is awarded at irregular intervals. The last winner was Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General, in 2008.
swissinfo.ch and agencies