Michael Ignatieff Honored: Wins Prestigious Award

Canadian historian and author Michael Ignatieff has been honored with Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences for his, “critical examination of the significant conflicts of our era,” as announced by organizers on Wednesday.

With a repertoire exceeding 20 books encompassing topics such as human rights, foreign policy, economics, and nationalism, among others, the 77-year-old has emerged as the distinguished recipient of the award.

Upon hearing he had won, Ignatieff shared, “I am surprised and delighted to be this year’s recipient of the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences. The list of previous winners includes many intellectual heroes of mine, and so it means a lot to be included in their company.”

Previous winners include Hélène Carrère D’encausse (2023), Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (2022) and Amartya Sen (2021).

According to the jury, Ignatieff’s life’s work serves as, “a vital resource for navigating the contemporary landscape of war, political division, and challenges to liberty.”

An illustration of this is when Ignatieff voiced personal objections to ballistic missile defense and space militarization. Although he explored the potential for a Missile Defense System in the United States in his book “Virtual War” (2000), he refrained from advocating for Canada’s participation in such ventures.

His notable works include titles such as “The Needs of Strangers” (1984), “Isaiah Berlin: A Life” (1998), and “Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry” (2001). Additionally, he has made prolific contributions through articles and opinion pieces.

Ignatieff’s academic career has spanned prestigious institutions worldwide, including Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford, where he conducted research and taught. He also served as rector of the Central European University.

Furthermore, his literary achievements have earned him recognition, such as his book “Scar Tissue” (2000) for being nominated for the Booker Prize, and his defense of academic freedom and liberal principles awarded him the Dan David Prize in 2019.

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