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Prof. Xuemei Bai, Future Earth Urban Knowledge-Action Network Co-chair, is awarded the Global Economy Prize 2021

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy and its partners, the state capital Kiel and the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry, awarded the 16th Global Economy Prize 2021 in Kiel. The theme was “Environmental Economics” and the prize was awarded to three individuals with outstanding achievements in the field of environmental, climate, and nature protection. The awardees were Distinguished Prof. Xuemei Bai, Ph.D., Prof. Dr. Michael Otto, and Dr. Göran Persson.

Prof. Xuemei Bai, Ph.D, the Future Earth Urban Knowledge-Action network Co-chair, and member of the Earth Commission,  is awarded the prize for the category of Economics. The judges recognized that she is not only a pioneer and leading expert in interdisciplinary urban sustainability research but also a skillful and dedicated policy adviser. She has a deep understanding of the complexity of the drivers and environmental impacts of urbanization and urban systems, and brought the research findings into practical policy recommendations. Overall, she is one of the most influential thought leaders in urban sustainability transitions worldwide.

Gabriel Felbermayr, President of the Kiel Institute, emphasized the services to sustainable economic action and living in terms of climate protection. He acknowledged the practical benefits of Prof. Bai’s academic work, where she focuses on cities  initiating innovative programs that contribute to sustainable development.

In her remark, Prof. Xuemei Bai, Ph.D. said that she is truly humbled and honored by this recognition. She stated that “COVID-19 has taught us many lessons. It reminds us of the vulnerability of our modern way of life and reminds us of the value of having urban parks and nature near us during lock down. We still have a long way to go—both in terms of theory and practice—until our cities can become more sustainable and resilient and provide high levels of healthcare and wellbeing to all of their citizens. Building better cities is essential for a better future for all.”

The prize is meant to inspire creative solutions to the global economic challenges of our time. It is awarded annually to influential personalities in politics, business, and science, who have made an outstanding contribution to establishing a just and protective society based on individual initiative and responsibility. 

For more information about the Global Economy Prize and this year’s winners, as well as photos and recording of the event, visit

Contact Urban Knowledge-Action Network administrative officer Mr. ATMAJA Tri at if you would like to know more about the Urban Knowledge-Action network. For questions regarding the Earth Commission, where Prof. Xuemei Bai leads the Working Group on Translation and Methods, please contact Science Officer