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Berggruen Institute : Launches Philosophy and Culture Center, and announces the annual $1 million Berggruen Philosophy Prize

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09/16/2015 | 11:38am EDT

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Berggruen Institute, an independent, non-partisan "think and action tank" (based in Los Angeles), today announced the launch of the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center. The Center - which will be advised by academic and advisory boards of some of the world's leading thinkers (full list below) - seeks to develop fresh thinking across cultures and disciplines.

Much like the Berggruen Governance Center has done in its political work, the Philosophy and Culture Center will convene the best minds and most authoritative voices from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines to accomplish its mission. The Berggruen Institute has historically worked on political thinking and is now expanding to understand the origins of these traditions, looking at their philosophical and cultural roots.

Announcing the launch, Nicolas Berggruen, chairman of the Berggruen Institute, remarked, "Ideas shape our humanity, therefore understanding their origin and political traditions are critical to producing long-lasting change for a better world." Berggruen added, "In a rapidly globalizing yet increasingly fractured world, we aim to close the gap that has been widened by narrow views."

The Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center aims to realize its mission via four core initiatives:

1. Cross-Cultural and Multi-Disciplinary Work. Projects engage Asian and Western cultures in a multi-disciplinary way around important and influential themes. The initial topics will be:

    --  The Future of Political Governance: Democracy and Meritocracy
    --  The Autonomous Self and Relational Self
    --  Harmony and Freedom
    --  Equality and Hierarchy
    --  Humans and Technology
    --  Sustainable Innovation

2. A Global Fellowship Program. Understanding different cultures and ways of life depends on extended exposure to other societies. To this end, the Center will sponsor a unique fellowship program that will give thinkers the opportunity to study, work and live at leading universities in China, the United States, and the United Kingdom initially, including, Harvard University's School of Divinity, Stanford University's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), UCLA, NYU, University of Cambridge, Tsinghua University and Peking University. The Program is also supporting research at the University of Southern California (USC) Brain and Creativity Institute under the guidance of Dr. Antonio Damasio. These efforts will result in symposia, video and written materials including articles and books.

3. The annual $1 Million Berggruen Philosophy Prize. The prize will reward a living thinker whose ideas have deeply influenced our world. Numerous prizes are rightly awarded for invention and achievement in science and the arts, but few prizes recognize ideas that have broader philosophical and cultural impact. An independent and diverse jury composed of leading thinkers will award the prize. The first prize is expected to be awarded in the fall of 2016.

4. The Aspen - Berggruen Ideas Contest. Looking to the future, which ideas will do the most to shape our world over the next few decades? The Aspen - Berggruen Ideas Competition will be organized annually to identify and further research ideas that will meaningfully impact the way we think and live. The first competition is expected to take place in the summer of 2016.

The work of the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center begins immediately with its inaugural cohort of six Berggruen Fellows, from the US and Asia. Fellows will be selected each year from around the world and will work on a chosen theme for up to two years. The first Berggruen Fellows will spend the 2015-16 academic year at Stanford University as part of the CASBS fellowship program, to be followed by the 2016-17 academic year at both Tsinghua and Peking Universities in Beijing, China. (A full list of the first class of Berggruen Fellows appears below.)

"What is different about this program is that our fellows will have the unique opportunity to study, live and produce work at major universities, initially in the U.S., U.K., and China," said Daniel Bell, Director of the Philosophy and Culture Center and Tsinghua University Professor.

"It is wonderful that there is going to be a newly established Berggruen Institute for the study of philosophy and culture with a focus on global relevance and application. It should meet a huge gap in the intellectual world of bringing well-reasoned ideas to bear on practical affairs of crucial importance," stated Amartya Sen, a member of the Center's Advisory Board and Philosophy Prize Jury.

"The Center's commitment to deepening our understanding across cultural and political barriers is critical in an increasingly fragmented world. That makes the Berggruen Institute a natural partner of the Aspen Institute. We are excited to work with the Philosophy and Culture Center in the creation of the Aspen Berggruen Ideas Competition," said Walter Isaacson, the President of the Aspen Institute.

"Economic and social policies are profoundly influenced by cultural, philosophical and religious factors. Even in relatively homogeneous contexts, such as the European Union, divergences in these underlying factors may explain persistent difficulties in forging common policies. The Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center will shed light on such crucial, though often neglected, fundamental aspects," said Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University in Milan, former Prime Minister of Italy and former European Commissioner for the Single Market.

"Unprecedented advances in the sciences and technology offer a new enlightenment and open the way for a flourishing humanity. And yet, the fragmentation of the social fabric worldwide, promise the very opposite. Philosophical reflection may well help us navigate the developing storm," said Antonio Damasio, Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Advisory and Academic Board Membership

Advisory Board

    1. Jacques Attali - Author, President of PlaNet Finance and former President
       of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    2. Daniel Bell - Director, Philosophy and Culture Center, Berggruen
       Institute, and Chair Professor of the Schwarzman Scholars program at
       Tsinghua University
    3. Gene Block - Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, UCLA
    4. Leszek Borysiewicz - Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
    5. Ronnie Chan - Chairman, Hang Lung Group, co-Chairman of Asia Society
    6. James Cuno - CEO and President of the J. Paul Getty Trust
    7. Antonio Damasio - Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director, Brain
       and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
    8. Alain de Botton - Writer
    9. Francis Fukuyama - Olivier Nomellini senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli
       Institute for International Studies
    10. Nathan Gardels - Senior Advisor at Berggruen Institute, Editor-in-Chief
        of TheWorldPost, Editor of New Perspectives Quarterly
    11. Timothy Garton Ash - Professor of European Studies at the University of
        Oxford
    12. Michael Govan - Los Angeles County Museum of Art CEO and Wallis
        Annenberg Director
    13. Amy Gutmann - President of the University of Pennsylvania
    14. Chaibong Hahm - President of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in
        Seoul
    15. David Hempton - Dean of the Harvard Divinity School
    16. Pico Iyer - Author, Essayist, Distinguished Presidential Fellow at
        Chapman University
    17. Robert Kuhn - Creator, Writer, Host and Executive Producer of Closer To
        Truth
    18. Margaret Levi - Director, CASBS at Stanford University
    19. Kishore Mahbubani - Dean and Professor of Public Policy in the Lee Kuan
        Yew School of Public Policy at NUS
    20. Pankaj Mishra - Writer
    21. Mario Monti - President of Bocconi University in Milan, former Prime
        Minister of Italy and former European Commissioner for the Single Market
    22. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein - Professor of Philosophy at New College of
        the Humanities, London
    23. Michael S. Roth - President of Wesleyan University
    24. Kevin Rudd - Former Prime Minister of Australia, Head of the Asia
        Society Policy Institute in New York City
    25. Michael J. Sandel - Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government
        at Harvard University
    26. Orville Schell - Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China
        Relations at the Asia Society in New York
    27. Amartya Sen - Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, Professor of
        Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University
    28. John Sexton - President of New York University
    29. Jianmin Wu - Executive Vice Chairman of China Institute for Innovation
        and Development Strategy
    30. George Yeo - Chancellor of Nalanda University and former Minister of
        Foreign Affairs, Singapore
    31. Fareed Zakaria - Journalist, CNN Anchor
    32. Lei Zhang - Chairman and CEO of Hillhouse Capital Management Group, Ltd
    33. Bijian Zheng - Director, Academic Committee of the Central Party School
        in China

Academic Board

    1. Roger Ames - Professor of philosophy and editor of "Philosophy East &
       West" at University of Hawai'i
    2. Stephen C. Angle - Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the College of
       East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University
    3. Kwame Anthony Appiah - Professor of Philosophy at NYU
    4. Julian Baggini - Founding Editor of The Philosophers' Magazine
    5. Tongdong Bai - Dongfang Chair Professor at the School of Philosophy at
       Fudan University
    6. Zvi Ben-Dor Benite - Professor of History, Middle Eastern and Islamic
       Studies at NYU
    7. Rajeev Bhargava - Director of the Institute of Indian Thought at the
       Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
    8. Luc Ferry - Philosopher, former Minister for Youth, National Education
       and Research in France
    9. John Gray - Philosopher
    10. Jens Halfwassen - Professor of philosophy at the University of
        Heidelberg, Germany
    11. Francois Jullien - Philosopher
    12. Anton Friedrich Koch - Professor of Philosophy at University of
        Heidelberg
    13. Chenyang Li - Associate Professor of Philosophy at Nanyang Technological
        University, Singapore
    14. Lydia Liu - Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities, Columbia
        University
    15. Stephen Macedo - Professor of Politics at Princeton University
    16. Josiah Ober - Mitsotakis Professor of Political Science and Classics,
        Stanford University
    17. Thomas Sheehan - Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford
    18. Alison Simmons - Samuel H. Wolcott Professor of Philosophy and Harvard
        College Professor at Harvard University
    19. Peter Sloterdijk - Philosopher
    20. Galen Strawson - Philosopher
    21. Justin Tiwald - Associate Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State
        University
    22. Weiming Tu - Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies
        at Peking University
    23. Michael Walzer - Professor Emeritus of Social Science at Princeton
        University
    24. Hui Wang - Director of the Tsinghua Institute for Advanced Study in
        Humanities and Social Sciences in Beijing
    25. Melissa Williams - Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto
    26. Bin Wong - R. Bin Wong, Director of the UCLA Asia Institute and
        Distinguished Professor of History
    27. Xudong Zhang - Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of East
        Asian Studies at New York University

Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center Fellows

The inaugural cohort of eight Berggruen Fellows (full bios are available online here) are:

    1. Roger Ames - Professor of philosophy and editor of "Philosophy East &
       West" at University of Hawai'i at Manoa
    2. Stephen Angle - Professor of Philosophy and Chair of Wesleyan
       University's new College of East Asian Studies
    3. Rajeev Bhargava - Director of the Institute of Indian Thought at the
       Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
    4. Yi-Huah Jiang - Former Premier of the People's Republic of China, former
       Professor at National Taiwan University
    5. Chenyang Li - Associate Professor of Philosophy at Nanyang Technological
       University, Singapore, where he founded and directs the Philosophy
       program
    6. Jin Li - Professor of Education and Human Development at Brown University
    7. Anna Sun - Associate Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Kenyon
       College
    8. David Wong - Susan Fox Beischer and George D. Beischer Professor of
       Philosophy at Duke University

Berggruen Philosophy Prize Jury

    1. Kwame Anthony Appiah - Professor of Philosophy at New York University
    2. Leszek Borysiewicz - Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
    3. Antonio Damasio - Director, Brain and Creativity Institute at the
       University of Southern California
    4. Amy Gutmann - President of the University of Pennsylvania
    5. Amartya Sen - Nobel Laureate, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor,
       Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University
    6. Alison Simmons - Samuel H. Wolcott Professor of Philosophy and Harvard
       College Professor at Harvard University
    7. Michael Spence - Nobel Laureate, William R. Berkley Professor in
       Economics & Business at New York University, Philip H. Knight Professor
       Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford
       University
    8. Wang Hui - Professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature
       and the Department of History at Tsinghua University, Director of the
       Tsinghua Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences
    9. George Yeo - Chancellor of Nalanda University and former Minister of
       Foreign Affairs, Singapore

About Berggruen Institute

The Berggruen Institute was founded in 2010 with a mission to develop foundational ideas, and through them, shape political and social institutions for the 21st century. In the age of technology and globalization, when our traditions are challenged, new social orders are emerging and political institutions falter, critical analysis of our most fundamental beliefs and the systems founded on them is required.

As an outwardly expansive, purposeful network, we bring together some of the best minds and most authoritative voices from across cultural and political boundaries to explore the fundamental questions of our time, from global governance to what it means to be human in the age of technology. Our objective is enduring impact on the progress and direction of societies around the world.

Media Contacts
Lee Alman
Email: Lee.Alman@Edelman.com
Phone: +1 (212) 704-4577

Hannah Buzicky
Email: Hannah.Buzicky@Edelman.com
Phone: +1 (212) 819 4879

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SOURCE Berggruen Institute


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