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28.09.2018 / Announcements


Five of the world's leading academics were honoured for their work, receiving awards in three fields in which Aristotle Onassis also excelled. An emotional, glamorous evening which spotlit Greece at its best.

We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in troubled waters, too. Aristotle Onassis' wise advice was included in the commemorative gift awaiting all those lucky enough to attend the 2018 Onassis Prizes award ceremony in London's magnificent Guildhall on Monday 24 September. Representatives from academia, shipping and the business world had the opportunity to watch as the 2008 Onassis Prizes were awarded to five great scientists who had, in a way, followed Aristotle Onassis' advice during their brilliant academic careers by excelling when the going got tough and charting their own individual course through 'troubled' waters.
The Onassis Prizes were awarded by the evening's two guests of honour—the Sheriff of the City of London, Mr Neil Redcliffe, representing the Lord Mayor of London, and His Excellency Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation—in a ceremony to which both the magnificence of the Guildhall and the emotions of the winners and the friends and family who were there to enjoy their triumphs, contributed.

The five award-winners for 2018, as announced on April 20, are as follows:


•    Douglas W. Diamond, Merton H. Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago


 • Jonathan Eaton, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University
 • Samuel S. Kortum, James Burrows Moffatt Professor of Economics, Yale University

 • Mary R. Brooks, Professor Emerita, Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University, Chair of the Marine Board of the National Academies, Washington DC
Wayne K. Talley, Professor of Maritime and Supply Chain Management, Acting Head of the Shipping Institute and Eminent Scholar, Strome College of Business, Old Dominion University

The Onassis Prizes are awarded every 3 years to leading academics from around the world for their achievements and overall contributions to the fields of Finance, International Trade, and Shipping—the three spheres in which Aristotle Onassis himself excelled. Three awards worth 200,000 USD each are sponsored by the Onassis Foundation and awarded in association with the Cass Business School (specifically by its Centre for Shipping, International Trade and Finance) and the City of London.

In his address, Dr Anthony Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Foundation and Chair of the panel of judges, said: I would like to congratulate the winners of this year's Onassis Prizes. We, at the Onassis Foundation, are particularly proud to support this institution in association with the City of London and City University/the Cass Business School. The Prizes were established with a view to recognizing and awarding people with vision in whom theory and practice, imagination and entrepreneurship, leadership and team spirit are combined. Aristotle Onassis’ name is synonymous with the spheres of endeavour in which our laureates are engaged: Shipping, Trade and Finance. These are the three core areas of business activity in contemporary economies. Aristotle Onassis knew how to inspire, knew how to blaze his own trail, how to succeed, but also how to fail. The Onassis Foundation, as his bequest, is now a powerful mechanism for releasing society's potential. Education, Culture and Health are, for us, vehicles for achieving a better world.

In his speech at the awards ceremony, Professor Costas Th. Grammenos CBE, President of the International Centre for Shipping, Trade and finance at the Cass Business School, who played a key role in paving the way for the institution of the prizes, congratulated the five winners on their achievements: The Onassis Prizes are awarded for the fourth time and one can safely say that they have become the most highly respected international awards in the areas of Finance, International Trade and Shipping. I warmly congratulate the recipients whose distinguished achievements have profoundly influenced their disciplines and continue to have an impact on academic thinking and business conduct worldwide.

The recipient of the Onassis Prize in Finance, Professor Douglas W. Diamond, who teaches at the University of Chicago, is one of the world's leading experts on economic cycles and liquidity crises, and has made a significant contribution to the public discourse on the fiscal measures taken in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In his acceptance speech, Professor Diamond said: I am delighted to receive the Onassis prize. After the recent financial crisis, policy makers and scholars have a renewed focus on the stability of financial institutions.

The statements made by the recipients

The 2018 Onassis Prize in International Trade was awarded to Professors Jonathan Eaton and Samuel S. Kortum. Over the last twenty years, professors Eaton and Kortum has collaborated on developing an international trade model which incorporates geographical factors into our traditional understanding of comparative advantage.

Professor Eaton, Distinguished Professor of Economics at Pennsylvania State University, who has also worked on issues relating to sovereign debt, sanctions and technology transfer, said: The Onassis Prize in International Trade raises awareness of the field’s contribution, which goes back to David Ricardo, to economic prosperity. A real pleasure in my life has been interacting with the brilliant, wonderful people working in international trade. The Prize can help the field continue to attract the best minds out there. Our current situation shows how much work remains to be done.

Professor Samuel Kortum, James Burrows Moffatt Professor of Economics at Yale University, began his academic career working in the fields of technological innovation and patenting. In recent years, in addition to ongoing projects with Jonathan Eaton, he has worked extensively on carbon pricing in an international setting. Displaying evident emotion at the start of his acceptance speech, he thanked his family before going on to stress that: Receiving the Onassis Prize in International Trade is deeply gratifying as recognition that others value our contribution. The prize is a stimulus to advance on the vexing issues that remain in the field of international trade.

The 2018 Onassis Prize in Shipping was awarded to Professor Mary R Brooks of Dalhousie University and to Professor Wayne K. Talley of Old Dominion University.

Professor Brooks is the first woman to win the Onassis Prize in Shipping. Over a 40-year academic career, Professor Brooks has established herself as a leading authority on liner shipping regulation, port effectiveness, and short sea shipping. She recently led a major research project into the value of shipping to Canada. At the awards dinner she said: I am so honoured to have been chosen as one of two recipients of the 2018 Onassis Prize in Shipping. To be the second Canadian, and the first woman, to be awarded this most prestigious prize accorded to academics in the field makes it even more of an honour. I grew up in a small town in Nova Scotia, a province where shipping was critical to its history and economy, but I did not know then how important the industry was to global prosperity. No great journey of discovery is ever completed alone, and my success is shared with all the colleagues and mentors who worked with me over the years.”

Professor Wayne Talley is an internationally renowned authority on port efficiency, piracy and safety at sea. He has also authored several authoritative textbooks on port and maritime economics. After receiving his prize from Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, he said: I am honoured to receive the Onassis Prize in Shipping in recognition of my contributions to shipping research and my economic theoretical contributions to maritime business research. My intention is to promote the establishment of a Ph.D. program in maritime business at Old Dominion University to further the study of shipping and ports as providers of services, where the key variables in understanding port efficiency are quality of service variables such as speed and reliability.”

In addition to awarding innovation, hard work and expertise in specialized fields, the Onassis Prizes seek over time to raise and improve the profile of Greece internationally. From the Lindau Nobel Laureate (at which members of the scientific community can meet and talk with Nobel laureates) and the Onassis Lectures at the FORTH (scientific lectures by leading Nobel laureates), to the thousands of scholarships it awards and the support it provides to Hellenic Studies abroad, the Onassis Foundation is creating connections and networks through education which bring together the entire world and have Greece at their centre.

The panel of judges for this year's Onassis Prizes consisted of:

Dr. Anthony S. Papadimitriou, President, Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (Chair of the panel of judges)
Professor George M. Constantinides, Leo Melamed Professor of Finance, University of Chicago
Professor Costas Th. Grammenos, LRF Professor in Shipping, Trade and Finance, Cass Business School, City, University of London
Professor Elhanan Helpman, Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade, Harvard University
Professor Robert C. Merton, (1997 Nobel Laureate), School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor Myron Scholes (1997 Nobel Laureate), Frank E. Buck Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Professor Eddy Van de Voorde, Professor of Port and Maritime Economics, University of Antwerp.

Notes to Editors

1)    Cass Business School, which is part of City University, London, is a leading global business school driven by world-class knowledge, innovative education and a vibrant community. Cass has been at the leading edge of business education for over 50 years, developing leaders who help businesses thrive through change and uncertainty. Located in the heart of one of the world’s leading financial centres, Cass has strong links to both the City of London and the thriving entrepreneurial hub of Tech City.

2)    The Onassis Foundation was established in December 1975 with the mission of supporting Greek society in the crucial areas of Education, Culture and Health. The Onassis Foundation's public-benefit and commercial activities have been tightly bound up with one another from the very start. In line with the wishes of Aristotle Onassis, the development and implementation of its public-benefit initiatives is funded by 40% of the annual profits it earns in Shipping and Commerce. It is its success in these sectors that allow the Foundation to bring projects to fruition in the three socially-critical areas in which it is active. In the field of Education, the Foundation has funded more than 7,000 scholarships and research fellowships for post-graduate and doctorate studies, provided educational material and technological equipment to hundreds of schools all over Greece, and acquired the Cavafy Archive (more than 4,600 manuscripts and personal items of the poet) to ensure its openness and accessibility to researchers. In the field of Health, outstanding among its countless contributions are the impressive Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre (OCSC) in Athens, a state-of-the-art hospital which the Foundation has donated to the Greek State, marking a turning point in Greek heart surgery and cardiology that is set to change the medical map of Greece forever. In the field of Culture, its most outstanding initiatives have been setting up the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens to promote contemporary cultural expression, support Greek artists, cultivate international collaborations, support education and life-long learning, and stimulate a fruitful discourse between the arts, ideas and science, and establishing the Onassis Cultural Center in New York City to fly the flag of Greek culture in the US.

3)    Recipients' biographies

Onassis Prize in Finance

Professor Douglas W. Diamond, Merton H. Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago

Douglas W. Diamond specializes in the study of financial intermediaries, financial crises, and liquidity. Diamond is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He was president of the American Finance Association and the Western Finance Association and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and a fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Finance Association. Diamond received the CME Group-Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications in 2016 and the Morgan Stanley-American Finance Association Award for Excellence in Finance in 2012. He has taught at Yale and was a visiting professor at MIT

Onassis Prize in International Trade (shared)

Professor Jonathan Eaton, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, The Pennsylvania State University
Jonathan Eaton has worked on many issues in international economics. After receiving a Ph.D. in economics from Yale in 1976, he and Mark Gersovitz developed a model of sovereign default which has become a standard tool for analysing government borrowing in international capital markets. Subsequent work with Gene Grossman investigated strategic trade policy and work with Maxim Engers concerned the efficacy of sanctions in the international economy. His research over the last 25 years, jointly with Samuel Kortum, has analysed the roles of technology and trade in the global economy. Their 2002 Econometrica article, Technology, Geography, and Trade, awarded the Frisch Medal by the Econometric Society, develops what is now sometimes called the EK model of trade. Other work of theirs has examined the contribution of innovation and the diffusion of technology to economic growth across countries of the world. Eaton is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Samuel S. Kortum, James Burrows Moffatt Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Yale University
Samuel Kortum is the James Burrows Moffatt Professor of Economics at Yale University, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Research Associate at the NBER. Before coming to Yale in 2012, he served on the faculty at Boston University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Chicago. Kortum received his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and Ph.D. in Economics from Yale. In 2004, he and Jonathan Eaton received the Frisch Medal for their paper “Technology, Geography, and Trade” published in Econometrica. He served as an editor of the Journal of Political Economy from 2008–2012. In addition to international economics, Kortum has written on economic growth, innovation, and firm dynamics.

Onassis Prize in Shipping (shared)

Professor Mary R. Brooks, Professor Emerita, Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University
Dr Mary R. Brooks is Professor Emerita at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, and Chair of the Marine Board of the National Academies, Washington DC. Dr Brooks has been a thought leader in the shipping and ports field since the 1970s, and has worked in Canada, the U.S., Singapore, South America and Australia. She is sought after for her expertise on competition policy in liner shipping, port strategic management and short sea shipping. A founding editor of Elsevier’s Research in Transportation Business and Management, she has authored and published more than 25 books and technical reports, more than 25 book chapters, and more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. She was a founding member of the International Association of Maritime Economists, served as its Membership Secretary and Treasurer from 1994–1998, played a key role on the IAME Council at three different periods during its history, and acted as the Chair of its International Scientific Steering Committee for the 2014 Annual Conference. She also is the founder and past chair of the Port Performance Research Network, a network of more than 60 scholars interested in port governance and port performance issues.

Professor Wayne K. Talley, Professor of Maritime and Supply Chain Management, Executive Director of the Maritime Institute and Eminent Scholar, Strome College of Business, Old Dominion University
Dr Wayne Talley holds the international designations of: Honorary Visiting Professor, City University London (United Kingdom); Honorary Chair Professor, National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan); and Honorary Guest Professor, Shanghai Maritime University (China). During 2000–2012, he was editor-in-chief of the highly-ranked Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review and in 2014 was President of the Transportation and Public Utilities Group, American Economic Association. His academic publications include over 170 journal papers and book chapters. His academic books include: The Blackwell Companion to Maritime Economics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012); the four-volume Maritime Economics: Critical Concepts in Economics (Routledge, 2017) and Port Economics (Second Edition, Routledge, 2018).

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