Peter Eigen

Inamori International Center selects anti-corruption pioneer Peter Eigen for 2016 Inamori Ethics Prize

Peter EigenThe Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University has selected Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International and pioneer of the global fight against corruption, for the 2016 Inamori Ethics Prize.

Case Western Reserve has awarded the Inamori Ethics Prize annually since 2008 to honor an individual for significant and lasting contributions to ethical leadership on the global stage.

Eigen has developed and led groundbreaking initiatives to improve governance and raise awareness of the devastating effects of corruption on economic growth, social welfare and justice.

Eigen, a lawyer by training, has worked in economic development for several decades. He has seen how abuses of power can undermine the public’s trust and cost people their freedom, health, money and, sometimes, their lives.

Following positions with the World Bank in Latin America and Africa, Eigen founded Transparency International (TI) in 1993. With chapters in more than 100 nations, TI has become the leading non-governmental organization promoting transparency and accountability in development.

TI collaborates with governments, businesses and citizens to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. The organization’s impact spans the public sector and industries ranging from finance to oil to sport.

The Inamori Center presents the Inamori Ethics Prize Ceremony as part of its mission to foster ethical leadership. Eigen is scheduled to receive the award and present a lecture Sept. 8 in the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple–Tifereth Israel.

The following day, Sept. 9, he will participate in a panel discussion on his work for the Inamori Ethics Prize Academic Symposium in Severance Hall. Other p­anelists are Brian Gran, associate professor of sociology at Case Western Reserve, and Katherine Marshall, senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Professor of the Practice of Development, Conflict and Religion in the School of Foreign Service. ­­

The Inamori Center was endowed by a generous gift from Kazuo Inamori, who established Kyocera Corp. and is a global telecommunications leader and founder of the Inamori Foundation that presents the annual Kyoto Prize in Kyoto, Japan.

“Peter Eigen and Transparency International have been strategic, tenacious and effective in their global efforts to curb corruption, expose abuses of power and teach people how to build and sustain more ethical organizations,” noted Inamori Center Director Shannon E. French. “We are excited to bring Peter to Cleveland to honor and learn from his important work.”

In particular, TI has spurred national elections won and lost on tackling corruption as well as the prosecution of corrupt leaders and seizures of their illicitly gained riches. It also has helped to establish international anti-corruption conventions and hold companies responsible for their behavior both at home and abroad.

TI likewise has spotlighted injustice through its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which uses expert opinion to measure public sector corruption worldwide. The 2015 index, for example, found that more than 6 billion people live in a country with a serious corruption problem. In addition, TI has promoted openness and accountability through resources such as its Bribe Payers Index, Global Corruption Barometer and Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres that aid people reporting corruption.

In addition to chairing TI for 12 years and now leading its advisory council, Eigen advised the governments of Botswana and Namibia to strengthen the legal framework for mining investments. He also has served as chairman and special representative of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which advocates for the disclosure of payments in the energy and mining sectors.

Eigen has contributed expertise as a board member with a wide range of organizations advancing sustainable development, including Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel. Along with his board service, Eigen is honorary professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and has taught at several other institutions including the Harvard Kennedy School and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

The Federal Republic of Germany awarded Eigen its grand cross of merit in 2013 in recognition of his efforts to combat corruption. In 2007, Eigen was honored with the Gustav Heinemann Citizen Award. He also received the Reader’s Digest “European of the Year 2004” award and an honorary doctorate from the Open University in the United Kingdom.

Previous Inamori Ethics Prize winners were:

  • Martha C. Nussbaum, celebrated philosopher and groundbreaking scholar at the University of Chicago, 2015;
  • Denis Mukwege, physician and human rights activist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2014;
  • Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, 2013;
  • David Suzuki, environmentalist and broadcaster, 2012;
  • Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe, 2011;
  • Stan Brock, founder of Remote Area Medical, 2010;
  • Mary Robinson, former United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights and Ireland’s first woman president, 2009; and
  • Francis S. Collins, leader of the Human Genome Project and director of the National Institutes of Health, 2008.