Ford School emeritus professor Robert Axelrod was awarded the 2022 Boris Mints Institute (BMI) Prize. In its citation, the Institute noted his ground-breaking work in applying game theory to conflict resolution.
“In his research, which employed the Prisoner’s Dilemma, Axelrod discovered that cooperative choices and beneficial behaviors, with punishments in place for those that do not adhere to such, is the best way to manage conflicts. He has applied his academic findings to modern conflicts, working with the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in the former Yugoslavia, sitting down with professionals from all sides,” it said.
Axelrod’s research and policy engagement on conflict resolution has been recognized, among others, by the National Academy of Sciences and by President Barack Obama, from whom he received the National Medal of Science.
As part of the prize, Axelrod was able to direct $100,000 to a research institute of his choice. He graciously named the Ford School's International Policy Center. IPC director John Ciorciari announced that with the funds, the center will offer a 2023-24 postdoctoral fellowship on modeling international security.
The theme for the 2022 award was conflict resolution, and Axelrod’s crucial work in that area was featured at the Paris conference at which he received the award – an event covered by the Associated Press and other media outlets worldwide.
Axelrod remarked: “I am truly honored to have been selected as 2022 Prize Laureate of the Boris Mints Institute Prize. The conflicts we witness around the world seem endless. However, as my research has shown, when two sides expect to interact for a long time, cooperation based on reciprocity can emerge and be sustained."
Dr. Boris Mints, Founder and President of the BMI, added: “I am delighted that Robert Axelrod has been awarded this prize. His academic contributions, which are so relevant to the work of the Institute, make him a very worthy winner.”
The Boris Mints Institute Prize was launched in 2017 to reward and recognize an exceptional individual who has devoted his or her research to solving a strategic global challenge, and whose public action and ideas have contributed to the welfare of a significant number of communities worldwide.