Balzan Prize

Indian economist Bina Agarwal was among the Balzan Prize winners named by the International Balzan Prize Foundation. (balzan.org photo)

The International Balzan Prize Foundation Sept. 11 announced the 2017 Balzan Prize winners with Indian economist Bina Agarwal among those recognized.

The prize recognizes scholarly and scientific achievements. Agarwal, an Indian professor at the University of Manchester, was recognized in the gender studies category for her "heroic" work studying women's contributions to agriculture in India.

The foundation, in its entirety, said Agarwal was recognized “for challenging established premises in economics and the social sciences by using an innovative gender perspective; for enhancing the visibility and empowerment of rural women in the Global South; (and) for opening new intellectual and political pathways in key areas of gender and development.”

According to her Wikipedia page, Agarwal has written extensively on land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; legal change; and agriculture and technological transformation. Among her best known works is the award-winning book—A Field of One's Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia—which has had a significant impact on governments, NGOs, and international agencies in promoting women's rights in land and property. This work has also inspired research in Latin America and globally.

The Balzan Foundation awards two prizes in the sciences and two in the humanities each year, rotating specialties to highlight new or emerging areas of research and sustain fields that might be overlooked elsewhere. Recipients receive 750,000 Swiss francs — roughly $790,000 — of which half must be used for research, preferably by young scholars or scientists.

Other winners are of the 2017 prize include Belgian astrophysicist Michael Gillon, married couple Germans Aleida and Jan Assman, and U.S. scientists James Allison and Robert Schreiber.

Additionally for this year, the foundation also awarded a fifth prize, in international relations, which was deferred from last year after the committee failed to reach agreement on a winner, going to Robert O. Keohane of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

The prizes will be awarded in Bern, Switzerland, Nov. 17.

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