Jane Goodall wins Taiwan's 2020 Tang Prize

World famous primatologist awarded Tang Prize for work on sustainable development

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Jane Goodall named winner of 2020 Tang Prize in sustainable development. 

Jane Goodall named winner of 2020 Tang Prize in sustainable development.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — British primatologist Jane Goodall was named winner of the 2020 Tang Prize for sustainable development on Thursday (June 18) after dedicating her life to redefining the relationship between humans and our closest animal relative.

Known as "the girl who lived among wild chimpanzees," Goodall was revealed as the Tang Prize laureate Thursday at a press conference held by the Tang Prize Foundation and members of the Academia Sinica selection committee. The award citation referred to Goodall's anthropological work and environmental conservation, calling it "groundbreaking" and "unparalleled," according to UDN.

The Tang Prize Foundation pointed out that Goodall's insight into how chimpanzees make and use tools, in the 1960s, has shaken the foundation of modern science and reshaped global understanding of primates and species conservation. It added her findings were also among the examples of proof to defy the longstanding idea that only humans understood tool usage.

Following the award announcement, Goodall expressed gratitude for the recognition in a video and said she was overwhelmed by the news. The 86-year-old said she was delighted for her Taiwanese connections and wanted to thank the island nation's researchers for having faith in her pursuit of animal conservation.

Goodall also commented on the coronavirus pandemic, saying that countries worldwide would eventually overcome the crisis. However, she urged communities to learn from the deadly outbreak and restore their respect for nature, adding that less human activity would create clearer skies and unpolluted air.

Despite her advanced years, Goodall said she would continue to fight for a more sustainable future. A time when short-term economic gains are no longer placed "ahead of the natural world."

CNA described the Tang Prize as a biennial award established in 2012 by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin (尹衍樑), with four categories: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology, and rule of law. Each laureate is awarded a Tang Prize medal, diploma, a cash prize of NT$40 million (US$1.35 million), as well as an additional NT$10 million in research funding.