News Release
October 10, 2008

Independent Institute Announces Winners of Templeton Fellowships Essay Contest
Program Awards $21,500 to Young Scholars

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 10, 2008—More than three years after the U.S. Supreme Court undermined property rights in Kelo v. City of New London, six young scholars in Asia, Europe, and the United States have learned that property rights are human rights, even as the legal status of property rights has become more precarious. That’s because the Independent Institute has announced the winners of the 2008 Sir John M. Templeton Fellowships Essay Contest, an international competition open to college students and untenured college teachers under 36 years of age. The topic of this year’s contest was the relationship between property rights and human rights.

“We congratulate this year’s winners for tackling an extremely challenging topic,” said Carl Close, Academic Affairs Director at the Independent Institute. “At the same time, we are encouraged that their efforts will lead to a growing recognition of the role of property rights in fostering a more just, peaceful, and prosperous society. In fact, all of this year’s contestants deserve our respect and gratitude for putting so much effort into writing essays on a crucial subject that has long been neglected.”

In the college student category, Michael Bauwens of the University of Ghent in Belgium won first prize ($2,500) for his essay, “Rights, Robinson Crusoe, and Friday.” Second prize ($1,500) went to David Howden of Spain’s Universidad Rey Juan Carlos for his essay, “Property Rights and Human Rights: Liberty Through Unity.” San Jose State University’s Kai Jager was awarded third prize ($1,000) for “Why Even Enemies of a Free State Have to Embrace Property Rights.”

In the junior faculty category, Prof. Daniel Pellerin of the National University of Singapore received the first prize ($10,000) for “Are Property Rights Human Rights?” Prof. Philipp Bagus, also of Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, won second prize ($5,000) for “Human Rights Inflation and Property Rights Devaluation.” Third prize ($1,500) was given to Southern New Hampshire University’s Prof. Gregory Randolph for “Who Took the Rights Out of Human Rights: An Analysis of Property Rights as Human Rights.”

Administered by the Independent Institute and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the Sir John M. Templeton Fellowship Essay Contest encourages college students and untenured college professors around the world to study the meaning and significance of economic and personal liberty. An independent panel of judges reviews each submission. This year’s judges were Prof. Jonathan Bean (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Prof. Roderick Long (Auburn University), and Dr. Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr. (National Academy of Science, Buenos Aires).

The 2008 contest drew applicants from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.

For information on the 2009 Templeton Fellowships contest, including the new topic and guidelines, please see:

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