Brazil's ex-leader honored as scholar

May 14, 2012
By

Larry Rohter - The New York Times, 05/13/2012

The Library of Congress will award the $1 million John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime intellectual achievement in the humanities and social sciences to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who had a distinguished international career as a scholar before twice being elected president of Brazil. An official announcement will be made in Washington on Monday, with an awards ceremony there on July 10.

In a citation Mr. Cardoso, who is 80 and lives in São Paulo, is described as “a scholar of enormous intellectual energy” and praised for his “deeply original analysis of the interplay among political, economic and social processes.” The citation also notes that “throughout his life Cardoso has asked difficult questions and often defied conventional wisdom” in his wide-ranging research and writing.

“In purely scholarly and academic terms he has to be considered the outstanding political scientist in late-20th-century Latin America,” said James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress. “It’s not just that he’s the first person with a personal political career of consequence to win this award, it’s that he is also a full representative of what we call a social scientist. If you want to make an American comparison, he is like Jefferson, playing a key role in building a democracy on a scholarly foundation.”

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Library of Congress, 05/14/2012

Library of Congress to Award President Fernando Henrique Cardoso Kluge Prize for Study of Humanity

 

Cardoso to Receive $1 Million Prize at July 10 Ceremony at Library

 

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington will award the 2012 John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, one of the leading scholars and practitioners of political economy in recent Latin American history. His scholarly analysis of the social structures of government, the economy and race relations in Brazil laid the intellectual groundwork for his leadership as president in the transformation of Brazil from a military dictatorship with high inflation into a vibrant, more inclusive democracy with strong economic growth.

The Library will present the Kluge Prize to Cardoso at a ceremony on July 10 in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. Cardoso is the first prize recipient whose work spans the fields of sociology, political science, and economics.

Throughout his life, Cardoso has asked difficult questions and often defied conventional wisdom, whether with respect to race relations, the relationship among key structures within the economy, or integration into the world economic system. His deeply original analysis of the interplay among political, economic, and social processes substantively informed his later governmental policies. Perhaps the strongest evidence of his intellectual accomplishment is that his successors have continued so many of his policies and ensured his legacy as one of Brazil’s greatest leaders. 

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