Contact: Ann Abbas
SMU Public Affairs
(214) 768-7655

March 7, 2003


DALLAS (SMU) -- SMU Economics Professor Shlomo Weber, a world renowned expert in game theory and political economy, has been selected to receive the prestigious Humboldt Prize for Foreign Scholars in the Humanities, which will enable him to continue important research related to enlargement of the European Union in 2004.

Awarded each year by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, the prize carries a cash award of approximately $55,000. It honors scholars living outside of Germany whose academic achievements have earned them an international reputation. Recipients must be nominated by leading scholars or research institutions in Germany. In addition to recognizing outstanding past achievements in research and teaching, the Humboldt Prize supports new research by the recipient in cooperation with colleagues in Germany, thus contributing to the scholarly cooperation between the two countries.

Weber's chosen research project relates to economic and political aspects of the enlargement of the European Union next year, when its membership is expected to increase from 15 to 25 member states. Weber, who has conducted research on international organizations for many years, has published concrete analyses of NATO, the European Union and European Monetary Union, as well as numerous theoretical articles in this subject area.

In 2002, leading French newspaper Le Monde published an article on joint research by Weber and Victor Ginsburgh, a colleague at the University of Brussels, on difficult decisions concerning language policy facing the EU after its enlargement. With the addition of 10 new states, the number of languages used by EU members will rise from 11 to 21, radically increasing the number and cost of interpreters needed for meetings.

The two researchers found that among current members, English is employed as a first, second or third language by the largest number (208 million), followed by French (127 million), German (118 million), Italian (65 million), Spanish (56 million) and Dutch (24 million). Weber and Ginsburgh point out that a larger proportion of the10 applicant countries use German, which could make it the second working language of the union.

The Humboldt Foundation, one of the oldest and most respected foundations in Germany, was established in 1860 in Berlin in honor of Alexander von Humboldt, great explorer of the Americas. The foundation was re-established in Bonn in 1953 under the presidency of the late Werner Heisenberg, one of the 20th century's greatest physicists.

Weber will receive the Humboldt Prize in Berlin at the Humboldt Foundation's annual meeting in June. He will pursue his research in Dresden from May through August 2003. During this period, he also will give lectures at universities and international meetings in Bonn, Brussels, Berlin, Moscow and other sites. As the Humboldt Prize winner, he will return to Germany for further research and lectures from January through March 2004.

Weber, who came to SMU in 1993, now is the director of the Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies and the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Trustee Professor of Economics in SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He earned a master's degree in mathematics from Moscow State University and a Ph.D. in mathematical economics from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

He has served as a visiting professor and scholar at Yale, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, Hitotsubashi University in Japan, the International Monetary Fund and the universities of Paris, Barcelona, Bonn, Marseille, Brussels and Venice. He has received research prizes from the Japan Society for Promotion of Science, Bank of Italy, Eurodrive Foundation in Germany and others. He has presented research papers and academic lectures throughout the world and has published numerous journal articles on his research.

Southern Methodist University is a private, comprehensive university located in Dallas. It has an enrollment of about 10,000 students and a full-time faculty of more than 500. SMU offers undergraduate degree programs in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Meadows School of the Arts, Edwin L. Cox School of Business and the School of Engineering. Graduate and professional programs are offered in these schools and in Perkins School of Theology and Dedman School of Law.