Nobel Prize Recipient and Micro-Finance Pioneer Named Winners of Schelling and Neustadt Awards at Kennedy School Ceremony

Contact: Doug Gavel
Phone: 617-495-1115
Date: May 04, 2006

Cambridge, MA – A Nobel Prize-winning professor, renowned for his research on the psychological elements of economic decision-making, and the founder of an innovative micro-finance lending institution are recipients of the 2006 Thomas C. Schelling and Richard E. Neustadt Awards. The awards were announced Thursday night during an event hosted by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Daniel Kahneman, Eugene Higgins professor of psychology at Princeton University and winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002, 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.

Muhammad Yunus, founder of the international Grameen Movement, which, since its inception, has loaned over $2 billion to the poorest people in Bangladesh, was presented with 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.

Both recipients were 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.

“These awards are the highest Kennedy School honor. They recognize the extraordinary wisdom, vision and significance of the ideas and work of these people. We’re proud to honor them in the name of two of the people who were so instrumental in the creation of the modern Kennedy School.” said Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood.

Daniel Kahneman is acclaimed for his integration of psychological research into economic science. A co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002, Kahneman began his prize-winning research in the 1960s seeking to increase understanding of how people make economic choices. His research with Amos Tversky on decision- making under uncertainty resulted in the formation of a new branch of economics – prospect theory. He is the Eugene Higgins professor of psychology at Princeton University, and a professor of public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Muhammad Yunus is the founder of the Grameen Movement. The Grameen Bank has provided credit to more than two million of Bangladesh’s poorest citizens, having loaned more than US$2 billion since its inception. This innovative banking system providing unsecured credit to the poorest of the poor began as an action-research project at Chittagong University, and later grew into a full-fledged bank. Yunus was a Fulbright Scholar at Vanderbilt University, where he received his Ph.D. in economics in 1969. He now teaches at the economics department at Chittagong University in Bangladesh.

Thomas C. Schelling and Richard E. Neustadt were instrumental in the founding of the modern-day Kennedy School of Government.

Schelling, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, is internationally renowned for his work on game theory, specifically in regards to the dangers of nuclear war. He received the 2005 Nobel Prize for Economics. Schelling has held various positions in the White House and the Executive Office of the President, and is now Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Neustadt, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Emeritus, was an eminent presidential scholar and advisor to three U.S. presidents who served as founding director of the Institute of Politics from 1965-71. He served as associate dean of the Kennedy School until 1975. He died in November 2003.

The 2006 Schelling and Neustadt Awards Selection Committee is comprised of:

* Derek Bok (chairman), the 300 th Anniversary University Professor; University President, Emeritus; and faculty chair of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations; on July 1 he will become Interim President of Harvard University
* Glenn Hubbard, Russell L. Carson professor of finance and economics and dean of the Columbia University Business School; former chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors
* Donna Shalala, professor of political science and president of the University of Miami; former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
* Paul Volcker, former North American chairman of The Trilateral Commission; former chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System
* Shirley Williams, member of Parliament in the British House of Lords; former public services professor of elective politics at the Kennedy School of Government

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