“We need the humanities to understand the world. With them, we can make a difference.”
Carlos Mas, Executive Vice President of the IE Foundation, kicked off the Third Annual IE Foundation Prizes in the Humanities on Thursday September 20th 2018 with the following words to remember: “We need the humanities to understand the world. With them, we can make a difference.”
This sentiment could easily define the event, which brought together IE students and alumni to celebrate their extracurricular contribution to the humanities. The handful of talented prize winners that met in the Paper Pavillion at Serrano 99 were picked from 250 candidates. As a group, they represented 15 different nationalities, and a variety of academic backgrounds.
Prizes were awarded for outstanding poems, short stories, essays, photographs, and short films, produced in either English or Spanish. From a poem about a family dinner to an essay on the effect of alcohol consumption in Vietnamese society, the prize winners contributed original and innovative content that charmed the jury, encouraging those in attendance to see the world in a different way. Once the prizes had been presented, the audience was treated to a selection of short readings from winning pieces by the students themselves.
President of IE Foundation, Diego del Alzcár, congratulated the winners and thanked them for their inspiring commitment to the humanities. He was followed by guest speaker Scott Hartley, a venture capitalist, former Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House, and author of The Fuzzie and the Techie. As a lifelong believer in the value of the humanities, he remarked that “our world needs computer designers and scientists, but it also needs philosophers and theorists… and they need each other.”
He demonstrated this by outlining how current research into driverless vehicles is dominated by anthropologists, whose observations of human behavior are fundamental to the design process. Furthering his argument, Hartley noted how Artificial Intelligence is inspiring important debates among philosophers as this technology brings up certain ethical questions. Without the humanities to ground these technological innovations in the human experience, new endeavors are destined to fail.
Carlos Mas supported this view, arguing that those students with at least an interest in the humanities have a more holistic worldview. According to Mas, it is this unique perspective that positions these individuals for success in the business world. This area of study helps us open our eyes to new possibilities that are fundamental to human progress. By celebrating and encouraging the humanities through these awards, IE Foundation serves to give a greater voice to a discipline that is often overshadowed in the digital age.