2020 BMI Prize awarded to Sabina Alkire 

15 May, 2020

We are delighted to announce that the Boris Mints Institute of Tel Aviv University has awarded its 2020 prize to Dr Sabina Alkire, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at ODID, for her work on poverty.

The BMI awards an annual prize to an exceptional individual who has devoted his or her research and academic life to the solution of a strategic global challenge. The prize recognizes individuals whose research, public action and ideas have had transformative impacts on global policy formation and a proven contribution to the welfare of a significant number of communities worldwide.

The 2020 BMI Prize was awarded to Dr Alkire ‘for her extensive research and substantial public action in the field of poverty and inequality’.

The BMI cited ‘her exceptional contribution to our understanding of the dynamics and implications of poverty and the impact of this work on the struggle against poverty throughout the world, and in particular, in developing countries.’

The Institute commended Dr Alkire’s development – in collaboration with James Foster – of the MPI (Multidimensional Poverty Index) which not only provides a headcount of who is poor, but also shows the intensity of poverty at the household level. ‘Through this initiative and in collaboration with the United Nations and the World Bank, she has led the effort to employ the MPI as a means to identify the challenges of poverty, and the impact of policy on it, in over 100 developing nations.’

Previous BMI Prize Laureates have included Dr Peter H Gleick, Co-Founder and President Emeritus at The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security; Nobel Laureate Professor Michael Kremer, Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University; and Professor Jeffrey D Sachs of Columbia University.

‘I am very grateful to the Boris Mints Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to Global Challenges for their kindness,' Dr Alkire said. 'Poverty is multidimensional. The overlapping deprivations in a person’s life – relating to areas such as health, education, work and living standards – are measurable and relevant to policy makers, businesses and civil society groups who are tackling this scourge.

'The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing many more into poverty and vulnerability. And the very survival of people with multiple co-morbidities is at risk. During and after the pandemic, governments need evidence to plan strategic policy interventions. They need to know who is poor and how they are poor. We thank the Boris Mints Institute for recognising the strategic contribution of multidimensional poverty measurement to this global challenge. This is a Prize for all those committed to ending poverty in all its forms.’

Dr Alkire, in keeping with BMI Prize protocol, will contribute 20% of the $100,000 prize for scholarships to research students. 

Find out more about the prize