Executive Director’s Corner: Why the Moynihan Prize Matters
In less than two weeks, we will honor Alan Blinder, this year’s Moynihan Prize winner, in Washington, D.C.—please RSVP here for the October 25 event, if you haven’t already done so. And even as we wrap up final preparations for this year’s lecture, our leadership and staff are turning to the business of deciding who will win the 2024 Moynihan Prize. We are accepting nominations for next year’s winner from now through November 3. Anyone reading this is welcome to make a nomination, and I hope you’ll consider taking a moment to do so.
Why take time from your busy work week to do this?
Aside from the inherent goodness of recognizing individuals who have made significant accomplishments at the intersection of social science, public policy, and civic good (a goal, I daresay, we all share), this is also an opportunity to think creatively about whom we recognize with the Moynihan Prize and what qualities of contribution merit recognition. Our list of past honorees reflects the fact that this award can recognize a broad range of qualities in its winners, and it is worth thinking hard about the value system that underlies the Moynihan Prize at this particular moment in our nation’s history. For example:
- What critical social dilemma has been best-illuminated by our sciences in recent years, and who has most effectively championed or advanced that issue in the public sphere?
- Who embodies the joys and challenges that come from robust and deeply informed public debate?
- Who has been the most effective advocate for democracy as its precepts have been challenged and its institutions have been undermined?
- What public goods are underappreciated and in need of foregrounding, and who has exemplified great work on those topics?
We all share in the responsibility to carry forward Senator Moynihan’s legacy of public service that is informed by intellectual engagement and scholarship, and to do it in ways that are particularly resonant today. The decisions we make in awarding the Moynihan Prize speak volumes about our shared enterprise of advancing social science in public benefit, and I hope you’ll take a moment to think about these sorts of important questions and consider nominating a worthy individual for the 2024 prize. I’m always available by email to answer questions or to schedule a quick phone call on the topic.
Tom Kecskemethy, AAPSS Executive Director