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A Word from the ASAP President…

In 2022, Academics Stand Against Poverty inaugurated the Ambedkar Grants for Advancing Poverty Eradication (AGAPE), providing competitive funding and mentoring for innovative pilot projects in severe poverty eradication with strong prospects of cost-effective scale-up. The first four grants have been made, and a new round of AGAPE grant funding for 2023 was announced. 

In partnership with Global Financial Integrity, ASAP also selected and honored the winners of the Ninth Annual Amartya Sen Essay Prize Competition on illicit financial outflows from poor countries – while announcing the Tenth Competition and publishing the winning essays of the Eighth in Journal ASAP.

ASAP continues to work closely with Yale’s Global Justice Program on various fronts. One key idea is to incentivize the development and deployment of innovations through publicly funded impact rewards rather than patent-based monopoly rents. This option is needed especially in the domains of green and health technologies. Impact rewards would take account of the third-party effects of innovations, make beneficial innovations much more affordable, and draw R&D efforts to the specific needs of the poor. In partnership with JENA and AHETI in Africa, and RIS in India, we have been pushing this idea at the T7 and T20 as well as at COP27.

Another joint effort is focused on the 42% of humanity who cannot afford a healthy diet – a horrendous silent catastrophe that is widely ignored, with a large percentage of global food production wasted or converted to biofuels.

2022 saw the retirement of Helen Lang as ASAP’s Global Coordinator and Helen Yanacopulos as Secretary of the ASAP Board with our gratitude for their great contributions over many years. We welcome Zeke Ngcobo as our new Global Coordinator and plan to add one or two Board Members soon.

Academics Stand Against Poverty is still more wish than reality. But if even just one in a thousand scholars and educators were actively to join us, we would stand a real chance to achieve at least that small shift in the global distribution needed to end the more severe forms of poverty.

Thank You.

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Tenth Annual Amartya Sen Prize

This year, Global Financial Integrity, Academics Stand Against Poverty and Yale’s Global Justice Program will be awarding the Tenth annual Amartya Sen Prizes to the two best original essays examining one particular component of illicit financial flows, the resulting harms, and possible avenues of reform. Illicit financial flows are explicitly recognized as an obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and are singled out as target #4 of SDG 16.

They are defined as cross-border movements of funds that are illegally earned, transferred, or used – such as funds earned through illegal trafficking in persons, drugs, or weapons; funds illegally transferred through mispriced exchanges (e.g., among affiliates of a multinational firm seeking to shift profits to reduce taxes); goods misinvoiced or funds moved in order to evade taxes; and funds used for corruption of or by public or corporate officials.  

Components of illicit financial flows can be delimited by sector or geographically. Delimitation by sector might focus your essay on some specific activity, business, or industry – such as art, real estate, health care, technology, entertainment, shipping, weapons, agriculture, sports, gaming, education, politics, tourism, natural resource extraction, banking, and financial services – or on an even narrower subsector such as the diamond trade, hunting, insurance, or prostitution.  Delimitation by geography might further narrow the essay’s focus to some region, country, or province.

Your essay should describe the problematic activity and evaluate the adverse effects that make it problematic.  You should estimate, in quantitative terms if possible, the magnitude of the relevant outflows as well as the damage they do to affected institutions and populations.  This might include harm from abuse, exploitation, and impoverishment of individuals, harm through subdued economic activity and reduced prosperity, and/or harm through diminished tax revenues that depress public spending.

Your essay should also explain the persistence of the harmful activity in terms of relevant incentives and enabling conditions and, based on your explanation, propose plausible ways to curtail the problem.  Such reform efforts might be proposed at diverse levels, including supranational rules and regimes, national rules, corporate policies, professional ethics, individual initiatives, or any combination thereof.  The task is to identify who has the responsibility, the capacity, and (potentially) the knowledge and motivation to change behavior toward effective curtailment. Special consideration will be given to papers that provide a detailed description of how change may come about in a particular geographical or sectoral context.

We welcome authors from diverse academic disciplines and from outside the academy. Please send your entry by email attachment on or before 31 August 2023 to Tom Cardamone at SenPrize@gfintegrity.org.  While your message should identify you, your essay should be stripped of self-identifying references, and formatted for blind review.

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