John Cooper Memorial Prize

Picture of John CooperJohn Cooper

The National President of the TS in Australia, Linda Oliveira, was invited to attend the 2005 Prizes and Awards Ceremony at the School of English, Art History, Film and Media of the University of Sydney, which took place on 19 May 2005. The Theosophical Society in Australia instituted, in 1999, the John Cooper Memorial Prize in homage to John Cooper who was a postgraduate student and a teacher at the School of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney and well-known to many TS members in Australia and around the world.

The scope of the prize is “for an honours or postgraduate student working on any aspect of the Perennial Philosophy and its Eastern and Western traditions.” Dr Carole M. Cusack, Chair, Studies in Religion, announced the winners for 2004. The postgraduate prize was won by David Pecotic for his doctoral thesis entitled ‘Body and Correspondence in G. I. Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson: A Case Study in the Construction of Categories in the Study of Esotericism.’ The undergraduate prize was shared by two students: Frances di Lauro’s ‘ “The Noblest Conception of the Age”: Conceiving Dante’s Purgatorio (1308-1312) in the Twentieth Century’; and Dominique Wilson’s ‘The Creation and Function of Mythic Histories in Esoteric Movements, and their Relationship to Popular Culture’.

At the ceremony, Linda Oliveira was asked to say a few words about John Cooper. She mentioned, among other things, his interest in Theosophy, Buddhism, Gnosticism and world religions, his work for the Arts Council of New South Wales as well as his dynamic and friendly personality.