28. May 2019

Prof. Dr. Koichiro Agata receives the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize Prof. Dr. Koichiro Agata receives the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize

Honored Japanese Researcher is a Bonn University Ambassador

Prof. Dr. Koichiro Agata receives the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The political and administrative scientist from Waseda University in Tokyo is one of the University of Bonn's first "Bonn University Ambassadors". The prize, endowed with 10,000 euros, will be awarded on September 9th 2019 in Bonn.

Eugen and Ilse Seibold-Prize winner 2019
Eugen and Ilse Seibold-Prize winner 2019 - Prof. Dr. Koichiro Agata © Photo: Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn
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Prof. Agata and Prof. Dr. Harald Baum from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg are honored for their commitment to German-Japanese scientific and cultural exchange. "Koichiro Agata and Harald Baum are not only known as outstanding scientists in their respective countries and fields. They also enjoy an excellent reputation in the other country and have made a special contribution to the German-Japanese understanding through their great personal commitment, not least in the context of student exchanges," said the jury chairman Prof. Dr. Katja Becker, Vice President of the DFG, explaining the decision.

In Koichiro Agata, the DFG is honoring a researcher who has worked for decades to promote exchange and cooperation between Germany and Japan. The administrative scientist from Tokyo spent many years on the selection committee of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awarding scholarships to Japanese students. In 2008, he was appointed the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's first trusted researcher in Japan. He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Japanese-German Centre Berlin for many years.

In February 2019, Bonn's rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch appointed the Japanese scientist as one of a total of 14 "Bonn University Ambassadors". Prof. Hoch commented happily on the news of the award ceremony: "Professor Agata deserves this award. He is an important bridge-builder between Germany and Japan, and we are proud that he is also a good friend and connoisseur of our university".

The focus of Agata's research is the comparison of local government in Japan and Germany. After completing his studies in political science at Waseda University Tokyo, he moved to the University of Cologne as a DAAD scholarship holder from 1984 to 1988 and then to the University of Administrative Sciences in Speyer, where he received his doctorate in administrative sciences in 1992. He was subsequently appointed to Waseda University, where he has held the Chair of Administrative Sciences since 1997 and has been Dean of the Okuma School of Public Management at Waseda University since 2008. He has regularly made his expertise available to non-scientific circles, for example as a consultant to the Ministry of Education (MEXT) and the Japanese Ministry of the Interior and Foreign Affairs. In 2006, he was awarded the "Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens" of the Federal Republic of Germany for his services to German-Japanese relations.

The DFG's Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize has been awarded to Japanese and German researchers every two years since 1997. The prizes honor outstanding achievements in all scientific fields. This year, the prize was awarded on a rotational basis in the humanities and social sciences.

The endowment for the prize come from a fund donated by Eugen and Ilse Seibold. From 1980 to 1985, the marine geologist Eugen Seibold was President of the DFG, and in 1994, together with the American environmentalist Lester Brown, he was awarded the Blue Planet Prize of the Japanese Asahi Glas Foundation. Eugen Seibold and his wife Dr. Ilse Seibold donated 150,000 euros of the world's highest endowed environmental prize of 400,000 euros to the DFG to establish a fund. The proceeds of this fund are used to promote science and understanding between Germany and Japan.

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