India-born professor donates sustainability award money
Washington, May 11 (IANS) India-born professor Kamal Bawa has donated the entire prize money of one million Norwegian Kronor (about Rs.10 million) from the world's first major international sustainability award to the Indian organisation he founded in 1996.
Bawa, distinguished professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, is the 2012 winner of the Gunnerus Sustainability Award from the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and letters (DKNVS).
He gifted the prize money to the Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a research institution in the areas of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Bawa is its founder and president.
The Gunnerus Sustainability Award is given for outstanding scientific work that promotes sustainable development globally, and the first award was given to Bawa for his work on biodiversity in Central America, the Western Ghats in India and the Himalayas.
At the acceptance ceremony in February, Bawa said it was unfortunate that almost all money in international assistance goes to projects rather than to strengthening institutions.
Standing by his belief that "it is institutions that transform societies", Bawa donated the award money to ATREE.
"The gift is a fine example of philanthropy at its best. It also endorses Bawa's commitment to a better world, and to ATREE," said Pheroza Godrej, a member of the governing board of ATREE.
ATREE director Gladwin Joseph said: "The gift will help ATREE address important environmental challenges. ATREE was recently ranked No.9 globally, and No.1 in Asia among environmental think tanks."
Bawa was recently elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his contribution to public discourse and public policy surrounding sustainability.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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