February 14th, 2012
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Amartya Sen receives National Medals of Arts and Humanities award

amritya-senWashington: Amartya Sen, Indian born economist and 1998 Nobel Prize winner has been felicitated with the prestigious National Medals of Arts and Humanities award by US President Barack Obama for his efforts to increase the understanding of fighting hunger and poverty. The award was handed over at a glittering White House function.

“We even have an economist, which we don’t always get on stage,” Obama said referring to 78-year-old Dr. Sen, before he presented the 2011 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities.

“Sen is being awarded the 2011 National Humanities Medal for his insights into the causes of poverty, famine, and injustice. By applying philosophical thinking to questions of policy, he has changed how standards of living are measured and increased our understanding of how to fight hunger,” said the citation, read by a military aid of the US President.

Harvard University-based Sen, who retains his Indian citizenship, is the first Indian to be honoured with the medal that is typically awarded to US citizens. The 2011 National Humanities Medal was given to Kwame Anthony Appiah, John Ashbery, Robert Darnton and Andrew Delbanco, among others. Prof Sen is currently a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society’s poorest members. Sen is best known for his work on the causes of famine, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing or limiting the effects of real or perceived shortages of food. He helped to create the United Nations Human Development Index. He is the first Indian and the first Asian academic to head an Oxbridge college.



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