IIAS Annual Lecture

Life and Death in Asia and Africa

By Professor Amartya Kumar Sen, Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1998.

The Annual Lecture 2015 of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) will be delivered by the renowned Indian economist and philosopher, Professor Amartya Sen. His lecture will focus on the morbidity and mortality that remain exceptionally high, both in Africa and parts of Asia. The explanation lies partly in the absence of health care and epidemiological interventions, but also in the defective way public health care is organised. There are, however, exceptions from which other countries can learn. Thailand, China, Rwanda, the Indian state of Kerala and Bangladesh provide lessons of different kinds of relevance from which lessons can be drawn. Life and death depend also on policy wisdom, and not only on human predicament beyond our control.

Professor Amartya Kumar Sen is a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 for his work in welfare economics. Professor Sen has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, theories of famines, measurement and evaluation of well-being and freedom, and moral, political and legal philosophy. He is the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Until 2004 he was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Amartya Sen’s awards, other than the Nobel Prize, include Bharat Ratna (India), Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur (France), the National Humanities Medal (USA), Ordem do Merito Cientifico (Brazil), Honorary Companion of Honour (UK), Aztec Eagle (Mexico), the George Marshall Award (USA), the Eisenhauer Medal (USA), and the Edinburgh Medal (UK).

The lecture by Professor Amartya Sen, in which he will discuss developments in both Africa and Asia, coincides with new initiatives taken by the International Institute for Asian Studies in the field of African-Asian interactions, including the organization (in collaboration with the African Association for Asian Studies), of a large international conference on the subject of “Asian Studies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects of a New Axis of Intellectual Interactions”, which will take place from 24-26 September 2015 in Accra, Ghana.


15.30: Welcome by Dr Philippe Peycam, director IIAS

15.45: Lecture by Prof. Amartya Sen, “Life and Death in Asia and Africa”

16.45: Questions and Answers

17.15 – 18.30: Drinks