Action for environmental protection
Due to the pandemic, laureates were unable to come to Taiwan to receive their awards. The Tang Prize Foundation held Masters’ Forums at National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University, National Cheng Kung University, and National Chengchi University on September 21 and 22. The forums, livestreamed online, invited previous and current laureates to come together to discuss innovative thoughts on ecological conservation, human rights, and environmental justice, as well as the possibility for change in these fields.
Dr. Jane Goodall, who has visited Taiwan 18 times, joined remotely from her home in England. She stated that the spread of Covid-19 is due to humans disrespecting animals and nature. Goodall’s groundbreaking research in primatology redefined the relationship between humans and animals.
Having set up sanctuaries for chimpanzees, she knew that actions were better than words, and shifted her role from that of purely a scientist to that of an activist. In 1977, she founded the international Jane Goodall Institute. In 1991, she also founded Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Program, to promote global wildlife conservation and environmental education.
Jane Goodall, 86, says, “My job is to give people hope.” Her active involvement in environmental conservation has indeed brought brighter hope to our planet.
Innovative inflammatory disease research
When University of Colorado professor Dr. Charles Dinarello, University of Oxford professor Dr. Marc Feldmann, and former Osaka University president Dr. Tadamitsu Kishimoto learned that they had received the Tang Prize, they were delighted. Each had independently discovered cytokines (IL-1, TNF, IL-6) critically involved in the pathogenesis of various autoimmune diseases. Cytokines are a cornerstone in medication for rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and other autoimmune diseases, benefiting thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune or inflammatory diseases.
The three laureates attended the Masters’ Forum at National Cheng Kung University online via international connections. They shared the history of scientists who have searched for the mechanisms behind autoimmune diseases. They also expressed hopes of finding effective therapies for curbing the inflammatory reaction that causes “cytokine storms” in the bodies of patients with severe Covid-19.