Amartya Sen announced as winner of Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize 2015

Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has tonight, Monday 9 February, been announced the winner of the inaugural Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. In the spirit of John Maynard Keynes’ work, life and legacy, this new global prize recognises Sen’s outstanding contribution to society.

Regarded as one of the world’s foremost thinkers in the field of famine, poverty, social choice and welfare economics, Amartya Sen’s ground-breaking work has not only been academically influential, but has also had a profound impact on the formation of development policy worldwide. Currently a Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, Sen has been a Professor at the London School of Economics and until 2004 was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.   His books have been translated into more than thirty languages.

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Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the advisory panel, comments:

“The aim of this prize is to honour individuals from around the world who continue to embody Keynes’ extraordinary attributes.  The remarkable Amartya Sen couldn’t be a more worthy winner in this inaugural year.  Philosopher, economist, teacher, moralist, his tireless commitment to the cause of ending inequality and deprivation by bringing a penetrating intelligence to bear on their causes is truly exceptional.  On behalf of my fellow judges I would like to congratulate Professor Sen on his outstanding achievements.”

The winner, Amartya Sen, comments:

I feel deeply honoured by the news of this award. The world in which we live today has been made much more secure by the economic wisdom that Keynes brought to us during the dark days of the Great Depression. When that wisdom is partly or wholly ignored in the making of economic policy, large numbers of people are made to suffer unnecessarily. I am afraid we have seen several depressing examples of that in the recent years, especially in Europe, with a huge human toll. Keynes was a great path finder, and it would have distressed – if not surprised – him to see how well-identified paths can be comprehensively neglected by policy making that draws more on ideology than on well-reflected reasoning.”

The Prize was announced by Dame Liz Forgan during a reception at the Royal Academy on Monday 9 February. Following his win, Sen will receive a sum of £7,500 to commission a work of art and will also give the annual Charleston-EFG Keynes Lecture at the Charleston Festival on 23 May 2015.

This year’s lecture is titled ‘The Economic Consequences of Austerity’ and the full programme for the 2015 Festival is now available.

This year’s advisory panel, who will continue to serve the Prize for a further two years, comprised Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of the Scott Trust and former Chair of Arts Council England; Keith Gapp, Head of Strategy and Marketing at EFG International; Simon Keynes, great-nephew of John Maynard Keynes; Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury Publishing and Chairman of the Charleston Trust; Professor Michael Proctor, Provost of King’s College, Cambridge; and Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, politician and award-winning biographer of Keynes.

The impulse to celebrate and commemorate the work and legacy of John Maynard Keynes initially came from Keith Gapp, Head of Strategy and Marketing, EFG International, who studied Economics at King’s College, Cambridge, which was closely associated with Keynes from his student days into his adult life. This desire coincided with the aspirations of the Charleston Trust, which was seeking a way to pay tribute to Keynes, one of the most influential members of the Bloomsbury Group and to launch a new initiative to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of its annual Festival last year.

Keynes wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace whilst staying at Charleston and subsequently moved to Tilton, just a stroll across a field away. He embodies the radical, interdisciplinary nature of the Charleston milieu. The Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize was jointly conceived by Keith Gapp and the Charleston Trust. EFG has a long standing relationship with Charleston and sponsors its two literary festivals as well as many other projects across the globe.



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