The 2022 Tang Prize Forum series, with five sessions taking place from 19 to 28 September, will be held on-site at National Taiwan University, Taipei Medical University, National Cheng Kung University, and National Tsing Hua University respectively while livestreamed on the Tang Prize YouTube channel. Joining the forums are recipients of the 2022 Tang Prize who earned international esteem for their groundbreaking research that examines the development of civilization and finds solutions to problems facing the 21st century. In addition, leading scholars and representatives of civil groups in Taiwan will take part in the panel discussions where the exchange of different views is expected to kindle a spark of inspiration among the audience.
Issues about constitutional reform should not just stay within the purview of legal experts. The public’s engagement should also be lent due importance. A key moment in the history of Taiwan’s Constitution will arrive toward the end of 2022 when a referendum is conducted to decide whether the age of the Taiwanese eligible to exercise their civil rights should be lowered from 20 to 18. Against this backdrop, the forum featuring Professor Cheryl Saunders is particularly relevant. The Rule of Law laureate who devotes her life to the study of comparative constitutional law will speak via video link at the opening forum titled “Public Participation in Constitutional Change—Reflection from a Comparative Perspective,” to be staged at National Taiwan University on September 19. Besides sharing her observation of public participation in constitutional change in different parts of the world, Professor Saunders will also have a dialogue with Taiwan’s youth organizations as well as constitutional reform activists and scholars on the civil rights of 18-year-olds and reflect on the role public participation plays in Taiwan’s constitutional change from a variety of angles.
Rising to fame for their contribution to the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine technology, laureates in Biopharmaceutical Science Dr. Katalin Kariko and Dr. Drew Weissman have been working together for two decades. At the forum “Using mRNA as Medicine” scheduled for September 20 at Taipei Medical University, they will elucidate on how mRNA is modified and delivered, and how they overcame numerous challenges and successfully applied this approach to human body. They laid the foundation for the development of mRNA vaccine, enabling it to emerge as a potent weapon in the battle against Covid-19. Moreover, their achievement raised people’s expectations for the potential of mRNA technology that had long been given the cold shoulder in the scientific community. Dr. Pieter Cullis, another laureate in this category, is widely credited with pioneering the lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery platform. From its development to its clinical application, Dr. Cullis created a technology so crucial that its absence would have rendered the manufacturing of mRNA vaccines impossible. At the forum held at National Tsing Hua University on September 28, he will tell the fascinating story about Onpattro, the first nanoparticle-based gene therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, and describe how the LNP system was being employed to make Covid-19 mRNA vaccines.
2022 Sinology laureate Professor Dame Jessica Rawson is former Keeper of the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum and current Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology at Oxford University. A consummate art historian, she is known for tracing the evolution of Chinese culture through the study of artefacts, and for her lifelong devotion to the promotion of mutual understanding as well as artistic, cultural and academic exchange between the East and the West. At the forum taking place at National Taiwan University on September 21, she will explore the topic of “Bronze, Jade and Gold: The Language of Objects and Their Contexts,” telling the history of ancient China through inventories of these three precious materials used to make everyday and ritual objects found in tombs and also discussing them in their settings and in tension and dialogue with each other. By drawing attention to the networks of meaning and hidden stories behind objects by conceptualizing the language of objects using examples from the past and present, Professor Rawson endeavors to show how peoples past and present have attempted to give objects meaning and how cultures have used these objects to order the world they live in.
Accelerating climate change and global warming provide the most convincing argument that to achieve sustainable development goals brooks no delay. 2022 Tang Prize laureate in Sustainable Development Professor Jeffrey Sachs is not only a world-renowned economist but also the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and the president of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). On September 26, at the forum staged at National Cheng Kung University, placed no.33 on the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings which assess universities against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Professor Sachs will address the topic, “Sustainable Development Pathways toward 2030 and Beyond,” shedding light on how Taiwan and the rest of the world can realize net zero carbon emissions by 2050 amid various challenges including the pandemic and constant geopolitical conflicts. Ensuing his speech is a panel discussion where he and experts from Taiwan will talk about the breakthroughs Taiwan and other countries are capable of making even in the face of a dwindling window of time, in order to continue pushing forward the agenda for sustainable development in an age of uncertainty with methods such as adopting effective regulations and strengthening international cooperation.
About the Tang Prize
With the advent of globalization, mankind has been able to enjoy the convenience brought forth by the advancement of human civilization and science. Yet a multitude of challenges, such as climate change, the emergence of new infectious diseases, wealth gap, and moral degradation, have surfaced along the way. Against this backdrop, Dr. Yin drew on his experience of investing efforts in education for more than two decades and established the Tang Prize in December 2012. It consists of four award categories, namely Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law, aiming at responding to the unique problems humanity faces in the 21st century. Every other year, four independent and professional selection committees, made up of many distinguished international experts and scholars, including Nobel laureates, choose from a pool of nominees who have influenced and made substantive contributions to the world, regardless of ethnicity, nationality or gender. A cash prize of NT$50 million (approx. US$1.7 million) is allocated to each category, with NT$10 million of it (approx. US$ 0.35 million) designated as a research grant to the laureate to support relevant educational projects. It is hoped that more people with professional knowledge and skills will be motivated to address mankind’s most urgent needs in this century, and to become leading forces behind the development of human society through their outstanding research and active civic engagement.