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Hillary Institute announces 2016 Hillary Laureate

Hillary Institute of International Leadership announces 2016 Hillary Laureate

The Hillary Institute of International Leadership today has great pleasure in celebrating the selection of

Tim Jackson as the 2016 Hillary Laureate for exceptional mid-career Leadership in “Capital for Change”.

Professor Jackson, director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity at the University of Surrey (UK), is the Institute’s 7th annual, global Laureate since 2009.

“I’m delighted that the Hillary Institute wishes to acknowledge my work with this award. I have a long-standing admiration for New Zealand’s ‘most famous son’! So it’s a particular honour to be recognised in this way. “ Tim Jackson.

Honouring the leadership legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary, the Hillary Institute has run a global search programme since 2009 with seven annual Laureates selected by its international governors in that time and two Hillary Step Awards (@ 100K) made to former Laureates. The Hillary Laureates are a remarkable group of leaders very much ‘in play’, from China to Kiribati to South America to the US and the UK. *see box

The Institute’s leadership focus since 2009 has been addressing Climate Change and Climate Equity. Tim Jackson in 2016 marks the first Laureate in the ‘post Paris’ arena of ‘Capital for Change’. New Economy definitions are evolving, from ‘re-establishing the commons’ to transition economics. Jackson’s takeaway is “achieving prosperity in a world of environmental and social limits.”

Headlining as “Ecological Economist and Playwright”, Jackson’s resume is remarkable by any standard, beginning in London in his twenties as a playwright. Furnished with degrees in Maths, Philosophy and the Foundations of Physics, he was, and still is,” intrigued by the transformative power of drama” and had already sold a couple of radio plays to the BBC. The 1986 meltdown at Chernobyl however radicalized his professional life, he recognizing his skills were highly relevant to the challenge of transforming technology.

Increasingly aware of the wider social and macro-economic forces driving environmental problems, this led him to the Stockholm Environment Institute, a long-standing collaboration with the New Economics Foundation (UK), and a 20 year research programme at the University of Surrey “to explore not just the economic and institutional factors but also the social and psychological drivers of the consumer society.

This is a story about us, about people…being persuaded to spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to create impressions that won’t last, on people we don’t care about.”

Throughout Jackson continued to write plays ‘with purpose’ and his latest book Prosperity without Growth (Routledge 2009/2016), was the culmination of a five year work programme on ‘Redefining Prosperity’ as Economics Commissioner on the Sustainable Development Commission, chaired by pre-eminent environmentalist Jonathon Porritt and reporting directly to the UK Prime Minister. Prosperity without Growth counterpoints the conventional wisdom of prosperity equating to expansion of GDP with the challenge of decoupling economic activity from environmental impact, outlining a vision for lasting prosperity on a finite planet.

Jackson contends that vision informs his ongoing research and change advocacy. On May 23rd, alongside Rowan Williams and Satish Kumar he launched the first in a series of public debates hosted by his Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), engaging young and old alike across business, policy and civil society in that most seminal of questions: what does prosperity mean in a world of environmental and social limits?

“It’s nonsense to speak of prosperity when people don’t have food, clothing or shelter. But it’s clear that prosperity goes beyond material concerns. It resides in the love of our families, the warmth of our friendships, the strength of our community. It consists in our ability to flourish as human beings on a finite planet. Our greatest challenge is to go beyond the mindless pursuit of consumption growth and to invest in health, in education, in creativity, in culture, and in the ecological assets on which our future depends.”

CUSP is a five year £6 million cross-disciplinary collaboration involving seven universities, plus business groups and NGOs, including in NZ where Assoc. Professor Bronwyn Hayward heads the University of Canterbury NZ research group: Sustainable Citizenship and Civic Imagination, co-leading with Jackson a longitudinal study of young people growing up in cities (CYCLES). As part of his award Jackson will visit NZ later this year.

Jackson’s research, like his writing is driven by a fascination with human stories. His latest play Variations is a love story, based around a particular movement in a Beethoven sonata, dedicated to the woman many believe was the great composer’s ‘eternal beloved’. “Variations also explores the tension between our passions and the sometimes accidental events that define our lives”. It won the 2008 Grand Prix Marulič, a prestigious European Radio Prize.

Says Hillary Institute Chair, Anake Goodall. “Tim Jackson’s is a story about people. We are delighted to recognise and celebrate his remarkable contribution, and his framing of a sustainable prosperity within the reality of environmental and social limits.”


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