Gro Harlem Brundtland and Howard Raiffa Presented with Schelling and Neustadt Awards

Winners Honored at Dinner Hosted by Dean Ellwood

May 16, 2008
by Doug Gavel

CAMBRIDGE, MA – A former prime minister and physician, and an eminent pioneer in the field of decision analysis were presented with the 2008 Richard E. Neustadt and Thomas C. Schelling Awards during a dinner held May 15th, hosted by Harvard Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and former Prime Minister of Norway received the Richard E. Neustadt Award, bestowed annually to an individual who has created powerful solutions to public problems, drawing on research and intellectual ideas as appropriate.

Howard Raiffa, Harvard University’s Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Managerial Economics, Emeritus, was presented with the Thomas C. Schelling Award, bestowed annually to an individual whose remarkable intellectual work has had a transformative impact on public policy.

Each recipient was awarded a $25,000 prize.

Funding for the awards has been provided by the David Rubenstein Fund for Kennedy School Excellence. The fund was established in 2004 by a generous $10 million gift from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland was recognized for her enormous contributions on both the national and international stage. A medical doctor and Master of Public Health (MPH), Brundtland spent ten years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system. She was named Minister of the Environment in 1974, and gained international recognition during the 1980s, championing the principle of sustainable development while serving as chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development. In 1981, at the age of 41, she was appointed Prime Minister of Norway for the first time. Overall, she served as head of the government for more than ten years, stepping down in October 1996. She served as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) from 1998-2006, and now serves as a Special Envoy on Climate Change for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Howard Raiffa was recognized for his lifetime of work in the field of decision analysis. A mathematician by training, Raiffa is an originator of the now famous “decision tree,” and has done extensive research on developing techniques to help decision makers think more systematically about complex choices involving uncertainties and tradeoffs. As a scientific advisor to McGeorge Bundy, White House assistant for national security under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Raiffa helped negotiate the creation of an East-West think tank with the aim of reducing Cold War tensions. He became a professor in 1960 and in 1964 was named to the Ramsey chair, a joint chair held by both the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School.

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Image of Thomas Schelling and Howard Raiffa

Thomas Schelling (L) congratulates Schelling Award winner Howard Raiffa (R)

Photo Credits: Martha Stewart

“These awards are given in the names of two people who were central to the creation of the modern Kennedy School,” said David T. Ellwood, dean of the school. “It is in their spirit that we recognize this year’s remarkable recipients, both of whom have dedicated their professional careers to the pursuit of knowledge and serving the public. We are proud to honor their extraordinary contributions to our nation and our world.”

Image of Dean Ellwood and Gro Harlem Brundtland

Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood (L) congratulates Neustadt Award winner Gro Harlem Brundtland (R)