Indian-born Kamal Bawa wins award for sustainability work

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Kamal Bawa, an Indian-born professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is the 2012 winner of the Gunnerus Sustainability Award, the world’s first major international award for work on sustainability.

Bawa will receive the Gunnerus Gold Medal and the award of 1 million Norwegian Kronor (about $190,000) at a ceremony in Trondheim, Norway, the university said citing a Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS) announcement.

Bawa, also a faculty fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability, home of the Global Environmental Governance Project, is known for his research on population biology in rainforest areas. His span of work includes biological discoveries made in Central America, the Western Ghats, and the Himalayas in India.

He is also noted for founding, and serving as president, of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a non-profit conservation and development research think tank in Bangalore.

“I am very pleased over the recognition that our work has received,” Bawa was quoted as saying in an interview with a Norwegian newspaper.

“In January, 2011, a University of Pennsylvania study ranked ATREE #19 among the environmental think tanks in the world, and implicitly #1 in Asia, and now the Gunnerus Award–I am naturallyvery happy.”

Until recently, Bawa held the Ruffolo Giorgio Fellowship in Sustainability Science and Bullard Fellowship at Harvard University.

The Gunnerus award is the first major international prize for outstanding scientific work that promotes sustainable development globally, and will be awarded every two years.

The award is named after DKNVS’ founder, Bishop Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), and is the result of collaboration between DKNVS, Sparebank1, SMN, and the society Technoport.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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