Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Norwegian Prime Minister, was awarded the first Tang Prize in Sustainable Development on Wednesday.
Established in 2012 by Samuel Yin, an entrepreneur from Taiwan, the Tang Prize honors leaders in four fields: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law.
The biennial prize gives 50 million new Taiwan dollars (1.67 million U.S. dollars) for each field, the highest sum for an academic award.
Born in 1939 in Norway, Brundtland studied in medicine in university and was Norway's environment minister, prime minister and director-general of the World Health Organization. She is now deputy chair of the Elders, a group of world leaders who work for peace and human rights.
In the last 30 years, Brundtland has been regarded as the "the godmother of sustainable development." She was given the prize "for the concept, leadership, and implementation of sustainable development for the benefit of humanity."
Laureates are selected by a panel of judges convened by the island's top research institute and outstanding Chinese people from across the Strait.
Yin said that prize was named after China's Tang Dynasty (618-907), a period considered as the height of classical Chinese civilization, and it can provide prizes in the fields not covered by the Nobel Prize.