Tang Prize organizer sets sights on world status(Focus Taiwan)

  • Tang Prize Foundation CEO Dr. Jenn-Chuan Chern
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Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) The organizer of the Tang Prize, an international award established by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin that is aimed at supplementing the Nobel Prize, has expressed hope that the award will grow in time to become one that is respected by the international community.

In an interview with CNA in late September, Tang Prize Foundation CEO Chern Jenn-chuan said there is still much to improve in the organization and international promotion of the Tang Prize, but he believes more people will get to know about the award as time passes.

"The Nobel Prize was established over 100 years ago and its reputation accumulated over a long period of time. People began to learn about the value of the Nobel Prize as more laureates were selected," Chern said, adding that it will also take time for people to learn about the Tang Prize.

While media coverage helps, Chern said there is no better way to promote the award than by "selecting and honoring the best laureates."

"We hope it will become an award that is truly respected by everyone," Chern said.

The biennial Tang Prize recognizes academic, scientific and social advances and contributions in the areas of sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law. An award ceremony was held in Taipei in September and the laureates gave a series of lectures around Taiwan during the Tang Prize Week from Sept. 15-21.

The lectures and other Tang Prize events drew over 12,000 people, said Chern, urging the government and the public to heed the advice of the Tang Prize laureates.

Taiwanese officials are often focused on elections and politics instead of the needs of the public and the disadvantaged, and could learn from Tang sinology laureate Yu Ying-shih's advocacy of cultivating humanistic qualities, Chern said.

The government should also address the problem of low taxation in Taiwan, as pointed out by Gro Harlem Brundtland, the laureate in sustainable development, he added.

Only with a reasonable tax system will the government be able to afford sustainable development projects and social welfare programs and bridge the wealth gap, Chern said.

Brundtland has said that the richest should be more heavily taxed and that subsidies for chemical fuels should be scrapped in Taiwan.

Chern said the world is now focusing on the 2015 United Nations climate change conference in Paris and on meeting the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target, but people in Taiwan are not as concerned about these issues as they should be.

He said he hopes the Tang Prize Foundation will "become a bridge" between Taiwan and the international community on such issues.

Between now and the second Tang Prize, Chern said, his foundation will cooperate with local schools, organizations and government agencies to organize events that call attention to global issues such as climate change and sustainable development.

"It doesn't just end after we have chosen the laureates and organized the Tang Prize Week. There are more tasks ahead," he said.

He said the recent interactions between the Tang laureates and the public, especially young people, gave him hope that "many seeds will sprout and bear fruit." 

(By Christie Chen)