Dr. Amartya Sen


A passion for understanding and improving society has driven Amartya Sen’s success in the fields of economics, philosophy and decision theory.

An innovator in social choice theory, welfare economics, development economics, public health, gender studies and the economics of peace and war, Dr. Sen’s research has touched many fields. Deeply influenced by the social imagination of poet Rabindranath Tagore, Asia’s first Nobel Laureate, Dr. Sen has consistently demonstrated the necessity and applicability of humanist ideals in social policy and practice.

Best known for his work to understand the mechanisms of poverty and famine, Dr. Sen’s ideas have been turned into action, for example, by helping to develop solutions for preventing and minimizing the effects of food shortages.

Challenging the idea that only self-interest motivates human activity, Dr. Sen is also internationally renowned for his ground-breaking research on social choice theory.

Using ideas he explored in development economics, Dr. Sen has been a driving force behind United Nations policy. His work has been used to measure poverty and inequality around the world and to provide information on improving economic conditions for the poor.

Recognized globally for his ideas and work on welfare economics, he is the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, was named to the Order of Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom and has been awarded the “Bharat Ratna,” the highest honour awarded by the President of India.

Currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, Dr. Sen is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has taught at the University of Calcutta, Delhi University, the London School of Economics, Oxford University and Harvard University, and on a visiting basis, at M.I.T., Stanford, Berkeley, and Cornell.

Mister Vice Chancellor, for his efforts to empower us with knowledge in a troubled world, and for continuing the inspirational work of Rabindranath Tagore, I ask you to confer the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, upon Amartya Kumar Sen.