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Local News

Grawemeyer Award Recipients in Louisville This Week

The latest Grawemeyer Award winners will be in Louisville this week to accept their prizes and give free public talks.

The University of Louisville has handed out Grawemeyer Awards since 1985, when entrepreneur H. Charles Grawemeyer created the foundation to fund the awards.

The awards are given for music composition, world order, psychology and education. The university and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary give a fifth award in religion. The idea behind the awards is to recognize ideas, not people, said Grawemeyer executive director Allan Dittmer.

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Local News

Officials Say 2012 Grawemeyer Puts Distance Between U of L and Mortenson

University of Louisville officials say the choice for this year’s Grawemeyer Award in Education moves the award and the school beyond the controversy with this the previous winner.

This year’s award was meant for Greg Mortenson, who wrote about his work building schools in Central Asia. Mortenson turned down the award, months after reports surfaced showing that he likely fabricated many of his accounts. That controversy centered around Mortenson, and U of L avoided high-profile scrutiny. Award committee chairwoman Diane Kyle says this year’s decision to honor Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond’s book about education equality should erase any unpleasant memories around the Grawemeyer.

“I think this book does do that,” she says. “This is an incredibly significant work and I think it definitely reaches the stature that the Grawemeyer Award in Education has been over time and continues to be.”

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Local News

Grawemeyer Award for Education Will Go to Stanford Professor

Next year’s Grawemeyer Award for Education will go to a Stanford University professor who was at one point a candidate to be U.S. Secretary of Education.

Linda Darling-Hammond will receive the award for her book “The Flat World and Education.” In it, she outlines the need to make education funding and access equal across all schools.

“We need to be focusing on reducing the inequalities in funding and educational investments between and among communities so that all kids have a level playing field,” she says. “Our kids in our top schools—affluent schools—score better than any country in the world in reading. But our kids in our schools with concentrated poverty—which is a growing number of our schools—score at the rate of about the 50th nation in the world, very close to the bottom.”

Darling-Hammond works with needy schools near Stanford and says she will use the $100,000 Grawemeyer prize to finance that work.

The 2011 Grawemeyer for Education was awarded to Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea” and other books about his work building schools in Central Asia. However, following reports that he had fabricated some his accounts, Mortenson eventually declined the award.

The University of Louisville presents the Grawemeyer Awards.

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Local News

Neuroscientists Win 2012 Grawemeyer Award For Psychology

Two neuroscientists from the National Institute of Mental Health are winners of the 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology.

Leslie Ungerleider and Mortimer Mishkin began working together in the 1970s. In 1982 the pair began publishing their research, which involved studying the brain’s reaction during visual exercises in primates. Further reports focused on circuits in the human brain and helped construct a road map for how information is processed.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Professor Wins Grawemeyer Award for Studies of Peacekeeping in the Congo

A political science professor has won the University of Louisville’s 2012 Grawemeyer Award for World Order. Severine Autesserre is an assistant professor at Barnard College and Columbia University, and the author of “The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding.”

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In her book, Autesserre examines the vast international resources that went toward peacekeeping in the Congo, and the failure of those efforts. In it, she examines the decades of violence in the Congo, despite significant international peacekeeping resources that were poured into the country.

The failure of peace, she argues, comes from a global culture that dismisses local conflicts as negligible.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Finnish Composer Salonen’s Violin Concerto Wins Grawemeyer Award

The 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition will go to Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Violin Concerto.”

The 30-minute piece debuted in 2009. It is at times somber and at times raucous and discordant. Salonen also believes it is the first time a modern drum set has been incorporated into a violin concerto. Award director Marc Satterwhite makes special note of the piece’s closing chord, which does not reflect any of the previous music. Salonen says the departure was intentional.

“When I thought about what was going on in my life at the moment, it became clear there was a symbolic meaning in this. I was just finishing my 17-year tenure with the L.A. Philharmonic. I was starting the next chapter in my life,” he says.

Previous Grawemeyer winners have included Salonen’s influences and respected contemporaries. He didn’t expect to join them when he finished the piece, though he knew he had written a meaningful composition.

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Local News

Mortenson Declines Grawemeyer Award

Amid allegations that he falsified parts of his best-selling books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones Into Schools,” author Greg Mortenson has turned down the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Education.

Discrepancies between reality and Mortenson’s written accounts of travels in Afghanistan and Pakistan were outlined in a 60 Minutes report in April. The report also raised questions about Mortenson’s use of money meant for his nonprofit organization, the Central Asia Institute, which he co-founded. Afterward, U of L officials declined to say whether Mortenson’s award was in question, however  the University of Georgia vacated a similar award meant for the author.

Mortenson was set to receive the Grawemeyer and speak at U of L next week. In a statement, U of L officials say the author spoke with Provost Shirley Willihnganz and turned down the award. Mortenson is quoted in the statement saying “I wish to humbly decline the Grawemeyer Award as a way to acknowledge the dedication and sacrifice of all those who have gone before us and those who continue to promote peace through education.”

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Local News

UGA Vacates Award for Mortenson

The University of Georgia has vacated a prize that was supposed to be given to author Greg Mortenson. The decision means that this year’s Delta Prize for Global Understanding will not be awarded to anyone.

Mortenson is facing accusations of fabricating stories in his best selling book, Three Cups of Tea, which has launched an investigation by his publisher. Meanwhile, his charity is facing an investigation by the Montana Attorney General amid accusations of financial mismanagement.

Delta Prize board member Dr. Betty Jean Craige declined to comment on the details of the decision but says it was reviewed by everyone involved.

“It was a decision made by the senior administration of the University of Georgia and the directors of the Delta Prize.”

Mortenson was to receive the prize from UGA on April 8 at a banquet that was cancelled because the author was sick.

The University of Louisville is scheduled to award Mortenson the Grawemeyer Award for Education in September.

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Local News

More Inaccuracies Found in Mortenson’s Accounts

New complaints have been raised against Greg Mortenson’s book “Three Cups of Tea”.  Outside Online, the magazine which had previously published Mortenson’s self-defense interview, is now calling into question his climbing record in the Himalayas as well as the possibility that he accidentally wandered into the village Korphe on his way down from K-2.

Mortenson’s book was first called into question when 60 Minutes revealed discrepancies in his story as well as the amount of money his charitable organization, The Central Asia Institute, had been spending on his travel fees and book promotions.  Jon Krakauer, an author and former mountain climber, then published a book called “Three Cups of Deceit”, which outlines the problems with Mortenson’s charity and the issues with his accounts of events.

In his book, Mortenson claims about half a dozen successful ascents in the Himalayas, prior to his failed attempt to summit K-2.  But Outside has found no records of these other climbing expeditions.  The magazine cites an archivist named Elizabeth Hawley.  The 87 year old woman keeps thorough records of all Nepalese Climbing trips. Her database includes 7,194 expeditions.  The Outside blog post, titled “You Can’t Get There From Here”, says there is little chance that Hawley would have missed all of his expeditions, especially since there were far fewer expeditions in 1994 than today.

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State of Affairs

What is Willpower?

STATE OF AFFAIRS 3/14/11: Dr. Walter Mischel’s groundbreaking study of and conclusions about willpower have been applied to everything from early education to weight loss to saving for retirement. His efforts won him the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. This Monday Dr. Mischel joins us to talk about his work, his discoveries, and what he learned from toddlers and marshmallows.

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