Founder Yin says Tang Prize as Joyful as Having a Child

  • Tang Prize Founder Samuel Yin
A- | A+

Today (June 18) the Tang Prize Foundation announced the 2014—its inaugural year—prize recipient in the Sustainable Development category. Former Prime Minister of Norway Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, known as the “godmother” of sustainable development, was chosen as the category’s laureate in recognition of her “innovation, leadership and implementation of sustainable development that laid out the scientific and technical challenges for the global community to achieve a better balance of economic development, environmental integrity, and social equality for the benefit of all humanity.” For over 30 years, Dr. Brundtland has dedicated herself to promoting the sustainable development of human civilization.

  Recipients of the inaugural Tang Prize will be announced over four days of press conferences (June 18-21) at the Academia Sinica. Tang Prize founder Dr. Samuel Yin and current Academia Sinica President Dr. Chi-Huey Wong were present for the first day of announcements. Previous Academia Sinica President and Selection Committee Chairman Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee will also be present at this week’s press conferences. All three distinguished guests will be attending the Tang Prize award ceremony, which will commence on September 18.

  During today’s press conference, Dr. Yin expressed that he was happy to see the prize come to fruition, and compared it to the joy of having a child.

Dr. Yin also stressed that the Tang prize is not in competition with another notable international award—the Nobel Prize, but is rather supplementary and complementary to it. The Nobel was founded 100 years ago, during a time different in many aspects from our modern era. Pollution, climate change, and rapid changes across global societies require more attention now than ever from the global community—all issues that the Tang Prize seeks to reflect.

  Explaining the name and spirit of the international award, Dr. Yin said he did not desire to use his own name or that of other famous Chinese dynasties. Dynasties such as the Han and Yuan are either ethnocentric—centering around the Han Chinese, or are associated with a history of intrusion and violence—the Yuan dynasty was founded by Kublai Khan after his invasion of China. Only the Tang Dynasty was characterized by its integration of religions, cultures, and ethnicities, for which reason it became a golden age in Chinese history.

  Currently the Tang Prize awards prizes in four categories: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. As to the choice of these particular categories, Dr. Yin said that 100 years ago, when the Nobel was founded, the world was not yet concerned with environmental issues, and sciences such as biotechnology had not even been defined, much less developed to their current level. As for Sinology, Dr. Yin admitted a slight personal bias—he hopes that, through the Tang Prize, he can bring Chinese culture to a larger audience. Finally, the Rule of Law category celebrates individuals or organizations who have made significant contributions to democratic rule of law. Dr. Yin stated that, if the need arises, more categories may be added to respond to the newest, most pressing issues on the world stage.