Paul Collier to receive prestigious award

Professor Paul Collier is to be recognized at a special ceremony this week, having been awarded the prestigious 2013 A.SK Social Science Award. The award is bestowed every other year by the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in recognition of work towards political or social reform. This year, the international jury honors Paul Collier for his contributions to understanding global issues of development and social inequality.  

On being told of his receipt of the award, Paul Collier remarked, 'To follow Tony Atkinson and Martha Nussbaum as the winner of this award is generous to the point of being unnerving! But the spirit of the award, which is to celebrate social science that promotes humane public policies, is timely. I hope that my work on the poorest countries – the 'bottom billion' - is a stepping stone to effective public acton.'

The A.SK Prize committee stated: “The WZB grants the A.SK Social Science Award 2013 to Paul Collier in recognition of his innovative contributions to our understanding of development, poverty, democratization, civil wars, and global justice.  Across disciplinary borders, he has overcome conventional ideological doctrines, thus reframing questions and developing new perspectives on some major problems that humankind is facing. His outstanding ability to explain complex economic theories and political dynamics in a clear and accessible way has not only made him a dialogue partner for politicians and international institutions but also gained him large international audiences beyond the scientific community.”

Paul Collier is a professor of economics and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University. He is also a Professeur invité at Sciences Po, and Paris 1. He is the author of the international best seller The Bottom Billion (2007). His book Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places was published in 2009, followed by The Plundered Planet: How to reconcile prosperity with nature (2010).

Professor Collier took a five-year public service leave, from 1998 to 2003, during which he was director of the World Bank Research Development Department. He is currently advisor to the International Monetary Fund Strategy and Policy Department. He writes a monthly column for The Independent, and also writes for The New York Times and other international papers.

Collier’s latest book, “Exodus”, was published earlier this month.

The 100,000 Euro A.SK Social Science Award is one of the best-endowed awards in the social sciences. The endowment capital has been donated by the Chinese entrepreneurs Angela and Shu Kai Chan. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to social and political reform.  The previous prize-winners have been British economist Sir Anthony Atkinson (2007), the American law and philosophy professor Martha C. Nussbaum (2009) and the non-governmental organization Transparency International (2011).

The award ceremony will be held on October 19, 2013, 1 p.m. at the WZB.