CSSI Community Blog

Lifetime Achievement Award in Collaboration Research to Professor Barbara Gray


From left to right, Rob van Tulder, Barbara Gray, Jim Austin, and Sandra Waddock.

During the 5th CSSI Symposium, organised by the Schulich School of Business at York University and the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo, on Cross-Sector Partnerships for Systemic Change in Toronto, the Lifetime Achievement (LTA) Award in Collaboration Research was awarded to Professor Barbara Gray of Penn State University. Professor Gray received the award because of her immense contribution to the study on partnerships.

The LTA award in Collaboration Research is awarded every two years to scholars who are able to transform the field by offering their insights and connecting research and practice during the bi-annual International Symposium in Cross-Sector Social Interactions (CSSI). Previous winners include Professor Jim Austin (CSSI 2012 at Erasmus University organized by PrC) and Professor Sandra Waddock  (CSSI 2014 at Suffolk University organized by Sawyer Business School).
Professor Gray was surprised and delighted to receive the award: ‘It is such a pleasure to know that my work was so well received by the CSSI community.  As I expressed in my keynote address, it was a bit lonely pioneering research on collaboration in the early 1980s.  Knowing that those early efforts have now paid off in so many wonderful ways is extremely gratifying’. 

The award is accompanied by a statue symbolizing collaboration, developed specifically for the LTA Award.  In addition, the award holder is given the opportunity to select a charity of his or her choice for the 1000 euros prize attached to the award to be donated with the aim of making a difference to a social issue. Hence, the LTA award in Collaboration Research not only honors pioneer researchers encouraging rigorous research in the field, hence raising the profile of collaboration research around the world and encouraging collaboration across academia and practice, but it is also an opportunity to make a difference in practice through the charitable donation by tracking the outcomes and impact of the award in two years’ time.

Professor Gray has chosen “Zennies for Girl Power--Beyond Borders Haiti”.  Girl Power Haiti works to eliminate human slavery among and improve the well-being of young women in Haiti.  Zennies for Girl Power is a Zen organization (based in Pittsburgh, PA) that collects money for Girl Power Haiti.
‘Zennies for Girl Power Haiti speaks to many issues about which I care deeply’, says Professor Gray. ‘First of all, empowering women has been a longstanding goal of mine since I began my career.  Second, I learned about this organization through my connections as a Soto Zen Buddhist lay teacher.  I actually know one of the key players who works with the young women in Haiti whom the organization serves.  She is a Buddhist nun who has devoted her practice to helping bring dignity to girls and women trapped in human trafficking. Finally, I care deeply about finding ways to level the playing field for disadvantaged people around the world. When I heard about the Zennies who were raising money for Girl Power Haiti, I knew right away that this was the perfect recipient for the award funds’. 

The LTA award is sponsored by the Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) of Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands. ‘The CSSI community is extremely important to us’, says academic director Rob van Tulder. ‘It connects us with the world of knowledge that is developed by other researchers in the field, and allows us to collaborate with them and jointly explore the fascinating world of partnerships for sustainable development. We are happy to play an active part in this community’.  

The next CSSI conference will be in 2018 in Copenhagen organized by Copenhagen Business School where Professor Gray will report on the outcomes and impact of the LTA Award in Collaboration Research.

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