Global Economy Prize Awarded


The Global Economy Prize of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and its partners, the City of Kiel and the IHK Schleswig-Holstein was presented today in Kiel for the fifteenth time. This year's award winners have in common that they understand the significance of history, its long shadow, and its weighty influence on our rules and institutions today, said Kiel Institute President Felbermayr.

The award ceremony was held this morning at Kiel's City Hall. Recognized as pioneers of a cosmopolitan, economically liberal, and public-spirited society, this year’s laureates are:

  • Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble MdB (76), President of the German Bundestag. Category: Politics.
  • Hikmet Ersek (58), President and CEO, Western Union. Category: Business..
  • Prof. Daron Acemoglu, Ph.D. (51), Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Category: Economics.

The Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, the Lord Mayor of Kiel, Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, the Vice-President of the IHK Schleswig-Holstein, Klaus-Hinrich Vater, and the President of the Kiel Institute, Gabriel Felbermayr, welcomed the 250 guests.

In his speech and his laudations to the award winners, Felbermayr emphasized the importance of rules and institutions for a functioning and prosperous society and thanked the award winners for having promoted them or raised awareness of them.

Wolfgang Schäuble had always acted according to the principle "Rules create reliability and trust." "You are the head and motor of European integration, the architect of German unity, and the most successful budget guard in post-war German history—and all this in just one life," said Felbermayr. "We honor you today as an upright advocate of a rule-based order in turbulent times. Not only as a defender, but also as a courageous creator."

Daron Acemoglu is a true superstar of economics. "His research shows that the institutional quality of a country determines its well-being, and is more important than geographical or climatic conditions. If a country is characterized by democratic elections, equal economic advancement opportunities, and individual property rights, it can thrive more easily. If a small elite exercises political power and determines the distribution of economic resources, the chances of development are rather poor."

About Hikmet Ersek, son of Turkish-Austrian parents, Felbermayr said: "He is a true cosmopolitan. His company Western Union is a trustworthy partner for millions of migrants, but also not free of criticism. In his roles, he has often experienced that ethics of conviction and ethics of responsibility are in a difficult tense relationship, that stable rules are the prerequisite for successful economic activity and for the fulfilment of a social mission, but that these rules need a moral foundation."

The Global Economy Prize is an initiative of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and is awarded in close conjunction with the City of Kiel and the IHK Schleswig-Holstein. The aim of the prize is to inspire creative solutions to the global economic challenges of our time. It is awarded annually to influencers in politics, business, and academia, who have made an outstanding contribution to establishing a just and protective society based on individual initiative and responsibility. The award is awarded annually and carries no prize money.

Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble MdB, President of the German Bundestag:
"A Europe capable of acting seems today to be almost the only chance to keep our ideas of the order in which we want to live relevant in this world. That is why we must not become comfortable. The danger of complacency lurks everywhere. Barack Obama said in his farewell address that the greatest danger for democracy is that we take it for granted. The same applies to economic prosperity, well-being and social security that the world envies us for—and the achievements of a united Europe."

Hikmet Ersek, President, CEO, Director, Western Union:

"In a time of trade wars and increased nationalism, globalism only has good prospects if we as responsible leaders commit to shaping this new globalism into a truly equitable globalism, one dedicated to inclusion as a core value."

Prof. Daron Acemoglu, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):

"The statement of the award mentions my work on the causes of poverty. This is indeed one of the main motivations for much of my work, and it has branched into the two areas that have kept me busy for most of the last 25 years: institutions and technology. In both of the areas, my work is a small part of a bigger collage created by dozens of scholars, and I feel fortunate for being recognized for this joint effort. If we want to understand poverty around the world, we have to understand institutions, where they come from and how they function. If they are the critical determinant of prosperity and poverty, they should be the main object of study."

Daniel Günther, Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein:

“The selection of the prize winners again documents the great economic and political reputation of the Global Economy Prize. In particular, Schleswig-Holstein uses its presidency of the Federal Council to make a strong commitment to the European Union and to intensive European cooperation. The award of the Global Economy Prize to Wolfgang Schäuble is also an important sign in this context, because the unity of Europe is a defining feature of his political work. It is also thanks to him that the integration of Europe has progressed so far to this day."

Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, Lord Mayor of Kiel:

"The award of the Global Economic Prize makes an important contribution to issues of global relevance. I am delighted that the Kiel Institute for the World Economy is continuing the tradition of awarding the prize during the Kieler Woche even with its new president. The list of previous award winners testifies to the great reputation of this prize. With Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, Hikmet Ersek and Prof. Daron Acemoglu, three top-class names will be added to this list this year."

Klaus-Hinrich Vater, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Kiel, Vice-President of the IHK Schleswig-Holstein:

"For decades, free trade and division of labor were the engines of growth in the world and brought prosperity to Europe, Germany, and Schleswig-Holstein. Fair and reliable economic frameworks and freedom are needed to ensure that the ideas of creative minds from business, science, politics, and society mutually enrich each other and create productive outcomes. It is precisely this freedom and the associated exchange that we will need in the future—in all areas of society and all regions of the world. The Global Economy Prize is awarded to people who can be regarded as role models for such an open, cooperative, and yet competitive approach."

Additional information about the Global Economy Prize and this year's prize winners can be found here.

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