Former Brazilian president wins Human Sciences Prize


Former Brazilian president wins Human Sciences Prize
(BDCi) – Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a Brazilian scholar turned president, has won the $1 million John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Human Sciences, the United Library of Congress plans to announce Monday.

Cardoso is the first recipient of the international prize whose work spans the fields of sociology, political science and economics, according to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

His two terms as Brazil’s president during the 1990s ushered in a period of social progress and economic turnaround after decades of military dictatorship.

A trained sociologist, Cardoso began his work in the 1950s as a scholar of slavery and race relations. His study of slavery in southern Brazil “was kind of the thing historians would classically undertake,” said Jorge I. Dominguez, a professor of government at Harvard University.

At a 2001 conference sponsored by the United Nations in Durban, South Africa, Cardoso “made it clear that Brazil was a racist society. No Brazilian president had said this before” or addressed the issue of race in his administration, Dominquez said. “That’s a fairly straight forward connection between the work he would do in his 20s and the work he would do later as the president of Brazil.”

During his presidency, he reformed government institutions, ended state monopolies and privatized companies, closed insolvent banks and created an independent regulatory system. He made conditional cash transfers to the poor and began universal education and health care.

By: Natania Levine
14 May 2012
9:54 a.m. P.D.T


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