Cardoso Receives American Award
The Library of Congress awarded the $1 million John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime intellectual achievement in the humanities and social sciences to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who had a career as a scholar before twice being elected president of Brazil. FHC becomes the first Latin American to receive the prestigious Kluge Prize.
Mr. Cardoso, who is 80 and lives in São Paulo, spoke for 45 minutes at the awards event in Washington, where his speech in English admitted, “English is my fourth language, I tend to make some terrible mistakes.”
Though not awarded annually, the Kluge Prize, first given in 2003 and last granted in 2008, is a sort of Nobel Prize for achievement in the humanities and social sciences, categories the Nobel Prize doesn’t recognize (except for literature). When asked what he intended to do with the award money, Cardoso joked: “Twenty-seven percent will go to the government, I hope they make good use of it.”
Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs as well as other diplomats, historians, and political scientists attended the event, along with Cardoso’s three children.
Senator Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG) left in the middle of the speech (“I have to catch a plane to vote on Demóstenes’s expelling”), before he was cited in FHC’s speech. Senator Tasso Jereissati (PSDB-CE) was also in attendance as was PSDB’s president, Sérgio Guerra.
Mr. Cardoso trained as a sociologist, specializing in race relations and the impact of slavery on Brazilian society and taught that subject for many years, although many of his more than 20 books and 100-plus scholarly articles also deal with economics and political science. He’s also taught at Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and lectured many times at Princeton, Yale, and Columbia as a visiting scholar.
Mr. Cardoso’s academic career in Brazil was cut short when a military dictatorship seized power in 1964, eventually forcing him into exile in Chile, France, and the United States. After returning in the 1970s, he became active in politics, serving as a senator for nearly a decade and as foreign minister and finance minister before being elected president.
(Photo by Gregg Newton for Reuters)