from GDAE Leontief Prize Event
Welcoming Remarks by Tufts President John DiBiaggio
It is an honor
for me to be able to join with the Global Development
And Environment Institute today to inaugurate the
institute's "Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers
of Economic Thought" and to celebrate and recognize
some remarkable achievements in the field of economics.
Today we honor several people who remind us that economics
the so-called "dismal science" can be a powerful tool
in the hands of those committed to overcoming the
persistent inequalities that plague our world.
figure in America more strongly evokes the commitment
to economic equality than John Kenneth Galbraith,
whose 1958 book The Affluent Society riveted
the attention of the nation on the yawning gap between
"private affluence" and "public squalor." Unfortunately,
Professor Galbraith recently took a fall and is unable
to be with us tonight. I am happy to report, however,
that he is recovering nicely and his wife, Katherine,
is here today to receive the Leontief Prize.
We are also
honored to welcome back to Tufts Amartya Sen, who
last graced our campus with his presence in 1997.
Receiving prizes here may have become old hat for
Prof. Sen. Today's Leontief Prize marks the third
award Tufts has bestowed on him. More notable than
these prizes, of course, was Amartya Sen's being awarded
the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science for his many
contributions that, in the words of the Nobel Committee,
"restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of
economic problems." It is safe to say there is no
greater contemporary figure when it comes to the economics
of development and problem of inequality.
And I would
be remiss if I did not also recognize the remarkable
achievements of Tufts' own Global Development And
Environment Institute. Seven short years ago, economist
Neva Goodwin, Fletcher professor Bill Moomaw, and
a few colleagues founded the Global Development And
Environment Institute with the goal of promoting economic
theories and policies that foster environmentally
and socially sustainable societies. Since its founding
as a joint venture between the Fletcher School and
Tufts' Urban and Environmental Policy Program, GDAE
has truly been "the little institute that could,"
quietly producing a dizzying array of books, papers,
and educational materials. Today, we celebrate those
accomplishments, specifically, the recent publication
of The Political Economy of Inequality, the
fifth in the institute's unprecedented six-volume
series, The Frontier Issues in Economic Thought.
I've known of the institute's wonderful work for years,
but many haven't, and I think of this event in one
sense as GDAE's coming-out party, an overdue public
recognition of some remarkable contributors to the
intellectual life of our university. In so doing,
I would ask that the institute's staff and Faculty
Advisory Board, drawn from eleven different academic
departments, stand and be recognized.
We would like
to begin our event today by introducing economist
Neva Goodwin, co-director of the Global Development
And Environment Institute. Dr. Goodwin will inaugurate
the Leontief Prize, present the awards, and introduce
our featured speaker.