American economist, academic and public policy analyst Jeffrey Sachs was awarded the fifth Tang Prize in sustainable development on Saturday.
Sachs, known as a global leader in sustainable development and poverty alleviation, was recognized for “leading transdisciplinary sustainability science and creating the multilateral movement for its applications from village to nation and to the world,” the award citation released by the Tang Prize Foundation said.
Twice named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders, Sachs is director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he is a professor.
The 67-year-old is also president of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a sustainability advocate for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, and cofounder and director of the Millennium Promise Alliance.
Sachs is widely recognized for proposing bold strategies to address complex challenges such as extreme poverty, human-induced climate change, international debt, financial crises, national economic reforms and disease control.
When addressing complex issues related to global sustainable development, he has combined the fields of global economics, public health, equity and sustainability to pioneer a multidisciplinary approach, transforming sustainable development into an integrated field of study and practice, the foundation said.
“His scholarship, advice to world leaders, educational innovation, and efforts in the global advocacy and realization of sustainable development have proven him to be a true leader of great vision, of profound influence, and imbued with deep humanistic concern,” it said.
Sachs said in a recorded video that he was thrilled to be a Tang Prize laureate and is inspired by the talent and leadership of other recipients of the prize.
“When I look at the contributions of the fellow recipients over the years, it of course makes me humble about whatever I can do, and it also helps me to explain to the world how much we can learn, know and help to improve the world through knowledge,” he said.
Sachs’ large body of published work includes New York Times bestsellers The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011).
He was the corecipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global award for environmental leadership.
Sachs last year was awarded the TUBA Academy Prize by the Turkish Academy of Sciences, the National Order of the Legion of Honour by France and the Order of the Cross by Estonia. He holds 38 honorary doctorates awarded by Macau University of Science and Technology, University of Siena in Italy, and Amrita University in Kerala, India, among others.
The Tang Prize is a biennial award established in 2012 by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin (尹衍樑), chairman of the Ruentex Group, to honor people who have made prominent contributions in sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law.
The winners in each category share a cash award of NT$40 million (US$1.35 million) and NT$10 million to go toward research.
Former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland won the first Tang Prize in sustainable development in 2014, and US physicist and former commissioner of the California Energy Commission Arthur Rosenfeld won the second in 2016.
James Hansen, director of the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, shared the 2018 award with Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.
World-renowned British primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall was the winner of the Tang Prize in sustainable development in 2020.
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