Laureate 2017

Sir Paul Collier received the P&V Foundation's 2017 Citizenship Award

The P&V Foundation gave out its 13th Citizenship Award on 28thNovember 2017 to Sir Paul Collier. The Citizenship Award is an annual award conferred to a person, initiative or organisation, of Belgian or international origin, whose activity has shown exemplary commitment to promoting an open, democratic, tolerant society. 




Since 2005, the Citizenship Prize has been awarded annually to persons from Belgium or elsewhere who are committed to an open, democratic and tolerant society.

Since 2015, the Citizenship Award has aimed to underline that it is possible to be an exemplary citizen in socially responsible institutions, such as government administrations, scientific organisations, business, the media, etc. In 2016, the award put the spotlight on the public sector and in 2017, it focused on the academic world.

This year, the jury chose an internationally-recognised academic luminary who specialises in development and migration issues. Paul Collier combines his excellent academic work with his strong, pragmatic commitment to more equality and social justice in the world.
Sir Paul Collier (1949) is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. He was the director of the Development Research Group of the World Bank from 1998 to 2003. He was also an adviser to the IMF. Collier was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2008, and knighted in 2014 for services to promoting research and policy change in Africa.
He has conducted important scientific work studying global poverty, the development of societies and economies in Africa, the effects of globalisation, the causes and consequences of mass migration, etc. He has also shown a very high level of social engagement in at least three areas: economic development in Africa, the fight against poverty and refugee issues. He was one of the first economists to tackle migration problems from an economic point of view. He wrote numerous important books, such as The Bottom Billion (2007) and, more recently, Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System (2017), which he wrote together with Alexander Betts.
The Foundation P&V is awarding its Citizenship Prize to Paul Collier because it shares the spirit and values of his work. The civil war in Syria and the refugee crisis are two of the greatest tragedies of our times. The jury appreciates Collier's nuanced analysis of the crisis and the necessary solutions between "the heartless head and the headless heart", as he puts it, and his call for more solidarity among countries and for more refugee autonomy.
His great contribution to research and development has been strengthened by numerous opinion pieces and press articles and his appeals to members of government, foundations and world leaders in Davos to help refugees in a more structural way. He played a decisive role in the creation of a fund to provide 200,000 jobs to Syrian refugees in Jordan and the establishment of development zones where refugees can lead full lives with opportunities for economic self-reliance.

His new book, which is due to be published next year, discusses the subject of ‘catching-up’. It deals with how we, in our own Western societies, should address the fears of those people who are left behind. Those fears are being caused by two new divides: the growing gap between thriving cities and broken provincial towns, and the divide between the highly-educated and the poorly educated which is gaining in importance.
Paul Collier's academic excellence, value-driven focus and pragmatism in pursuit of concrete, practical results makes him a highly suitable candidate for winning our Citizenship Award. His way of helping people is not based on charity, but is geared towards self-reliance, empowerment and the creation of opportunities for sustainable development and good governance.


The Foundation presented a Philip Aguirre y Otegui sculpture to the award winner. 

Interview of Paul Collier by Han Renard.

Laudatio of Paul Collier by Mark Elchardus.

The booklet of the Citizenship Award 2017.


Press Review

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