Frontlist | Amartya Sen wins Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
Author and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen was awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels for 2020.
The Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels is an international peace prize that is awarded annually by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, which is an association of German book publishers and book sellers, who run the renowned Frankfurt Book Fair.
Actor Burkhard Klaussner filled in for German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for he is currently in quarantine after one of his bodyguards was diagnosed with COVID-19. He commented, “The halls of our Book Fair are deserted and our prizewinner is stuck on another continent. These are truly unusual times.”
Sen attended the event via livestream from Boston in the US, where he teaches. He has been teaching and researching at various universities for many years, most notably in New Delhi, Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford and Cambridge. He focuses on social inequality and poverty and has written many articles and books on the topic. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his innovative research on the welfare economics of developing countries in 1998.
According to the Börsenverein, he was chosen for the prize as, “With him, we are honoring a philosopher who, as a pioneer, has been grappling with questions of global justice for decades and his work to combat social inequality in relation to education and health today are more relevant than ever before. One of his most important demands is to measure social prosperity not only in terms of economic growth, but always also in terms of development opportunities, especially for the weakest.
Amartya Sen emphasizes solidarity and willingness to negotiate as essential democratic virtues and proves that cultures do not have to be a source of conflict over identities. In vivid depictions he shows how poverty, hunger and disease are related to a lack of freedom structures. With the “Human Development Index”, the “Capabilities Approach” and the “Missing Women”, he presented concepts early on that still set high standards for enabling, guaranteeing and evaluating equal opportunities and humane living conditions.
His inspiring work is a call to promote a culture of political decision-making that is based on responsibility for others and does not deny anyone the right to have a say and self-determination.” (Translated from German)
In his acceptance speech, Sen said, “The world today is facing a pandemic of authoritarianism that affects human life in different but interrelated ways. Given our global connections and the importance of being human together, there is every reason to be seriously concerned not only about our own country but also about others and about problems around the world.”