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World leading academics deliver 2012 Onassis Lectures

Five Onassis Laureates speak at Cass ahead of Guildhall prize giving ceremony

Five world leading academics took to the podium at Cass Business School today for the 2012 Onassis Lectures.

Renowned US economists, Professors Stephen Ross and Elhanan Helpman, and emeritus shipping academics, Professors Ernst Frankel, Richard Goss and Arnljot Stromme Svendesn, delivered a series of mini-lectures in front of more than 250 people.

The speakers, who have each won global acclaim for achievements in their fields, are in London to receive the 2012 Onassis Prizes. The $200,000 prizes, judged by a panel including Nobel Laureates, are sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and awarded every three years by Cass Business School.

MIT Professor Stephen Ross, winner of the 2012 Onassis Prize for Finance, delivered a lecture on the causes of the financial crisis, in which he condemned the part played by accountants, regulators, bankers and derivatives.

He was joined on stage by Harvard University Professor Elhanan Helpman, winner of the 2012 Onassis Prize for International Trade, who reviewed the history of international trade and its relationship with economic development.

Emeritus professors Ernst Frankel, Richard Goss and Arnljot Stromme Svendsen, who between them have more than 120 years' experience in shipping, each shared the 2012 Onassis Prize for Shipping. 

Professor Frankel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the audience that the polar region may "trigger a new gold rush in human and economic terms" in his lecture on 'The arctic - the new economic frontier and the challenges for shipping'.

Cardiff University professor Richard Goss thanked Cass Business School and the Onassis Foundation for the "marvellous prize" and pledged to donate part to the Sea Cadets.

And Professor Svendsen from the Norwegian School of Economics delivered an address titled, 'On the way to new labyrinths and enigmas or to more science and wisdom?'

Chairing the event, Professor Costas Grammenos, who is the founder of Cass Business School's International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance and who was instrumental in launching the Onassis Prizes, said: "We are extremely honoured to play host to such a distinguished panel of academics, each of whom is recognised and respected as a global leader in their field.

"For more than 300-years, London has been hailed as a world-centre for international trade, shipping and finance so it is fitting that we should mark the lifetime achievements of the Onassis Laureates with lectures at our campus here in the heart of the City of London."

The lectures will be followed by an evening banquet at London's Guildhall where the laureates are set to receive the Onassis Prizes in front of more than 400 dignitaries, including FTSE chairmen, Nobel Laureates, City financiers, industrialists, ship-owners, academics and foreign ambassadors.

The Onassis Prize winners were first announced by the Lord Mayor London, Alderman David Wootton at Mansion House in May.

The Onassis Public Benefit Foundation is named in honour of Alexander Onassis, son of the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who died in 1975.

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