Since 1990, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation has honored its founder, the late Sir Antony Fisher, with an annual awards program in his name. The Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Awards recognize think tanks that produce outstanding publications that enhance the public understanding of a free society. This year, Atlas celebrates the 21th annual Fisher Awards at The Atlas Experience by honoring the Cato Institute (USA) for The Beautiful Tree (2009) written by James Tooley. The winner receives $10,000 with this recognition.
As Tooley details in his book, the catalyst for this inspiring worldwide search of privately-funded educational system – which took him from the largest shanty town in Africa to the hinterlands of China – was finding, in the slums of Hyderabad, numerous tiny, parent-funded schools, filled with energetic students. He then set out to discover if schools like these are being replicated everywhere. And the answer is yes. The Beautiful Tree challenges the conventional wisdom that private schools are only for the privileged and offers inspirational portraits of families, teachers, students, community leaders, and others, who in the face of failed government-funded and operated schools have successfully taken the education of their children into their own hands. Rather than lament what has gone wrong in the developing world, The Beautiful Tree is about doing what is right, and demonstrates the power of the educative spirit in all corners of the world.
Atlas is also proud to recognize the following finalists selected from among the 50 think tank nominations:
|Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Canada – Fearful Symmetry (2009) by Brian Lee Crowley
Fearful Symmetry makes the case that Canada was originally founded on the values that underpin the free society: a strong work ethic, a sense of responsibility for self, a commitment to family as the most important social institution, a commitment to limited government, and an aversion to dependence on the state or charity.
|Fraser Institute, Canada – Canadian Health Policy Failures (2009) by Brett Skinner
The author examines the key political factors that act as barriers to the adoption of more economically rational health care policies in Canada. One of the key findings is that Canadian policy-makers are affected by an imbalance of information that either tends to favor heavily the status quo or advocate greater state intervention in health care.
|Institute for value-based Economics, Austria – Economics and Ethics (2009) by Rahim Taghizadegan, Gregor Hochreiter, Eugen Schulak and Herbert Pribyl
This publication is the outcome of a fruitful cooperation between Institute for value-based Economics and Papal University Benedict XVI, one of the most important centers of Catholic thought and teaching in Europe, and explores the connection between the Austrian School of Economics and the Austrian-Catholic tradition of natural law theory.
|Istituto Bruno Leoni, Italy – After! How to Restart After the Financial Crisis (2009) by Piercamillo Falasca
This book brings together research on subjects such as tax reform, welfare reform, and labor law reform, is designed to provide Italian law makers with a roadmap for reform in the wake of the global financial crisis.
|Pacific Research Institute, USA – Top Ten Myths of American Health Care (2008) by Sally Pipes
Top 10 Myths seeks to dispel widely-accepted notions such as health care is a “right,” 46 million people are uninsured, and socialized health care systems in Europe and Canada are superior to the U.S. system, etc.
|Property and Environment Research Center, USA – Greener than Thou (2008) by Terry Anderson and Laura Huggins
Greener Than Thou seeks to enhance the public understanding of a free society by improving people’s understanding of the possibilities available when we create environmental improvements using the powerful tools of the market.
Founded in 1981, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation is a tax-exempt charity based in Washington, D.C., that develops and strengthens a worldwide network of independent think tanks. Atlas does not seek or accept government funding. Its grants and programs are made possible entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals and organizations sharing Atlas’s belief in the principles of a free society. Atlas relies upon an independent panel of prestigious judges to select each year’s winning publications.