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IASC deeply regrets the passing of Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom

The International Association for the Study of the Commons deeply regrets the passing of Elinor Ostrom, who received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her outstanding research on better understanding the management of common property. Lin Ostrom, 78, died of cancer at 6:40 a.m. today at IU Health Bloomington Hospital surrounded by friends. She was senior research director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, Distinguished Professor and Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, and professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.


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Elinor is one of the founders of the IASC in 1989 and has continued to support the IASC ever since, in many different ways. She never missed a global IASC-meeting and made great efforts to attend regional meetings and other events. Lin presented many papers at IASC-conferences and collaborated with many different scholars from various disciplines and all over the world. She will be missed enormously at our future meetings but we will continue to honour her legacy by furthering research on commons. Lin's work was vital for research on the commons; together with other scholars she offered guidance to us all on all aspects of commons research.

Elinor has been an exceptional academic leader who promoted not only a shift of paradigms in social and economic sciences, but also in the ways governance and policies are thought about and in the relationship between natural and social sciences. For many years she strongly worked to create stronger links between academic production and practical policymaking, which she regarded as urgent in order to build a better world.

She was also a powerful mentor, a generous teacher and advisor, and her hundreds of students around the world will always be grateful for her inspiration and guidance. She was especially committed to the strengthening of human capital in young people in the global south. The IASC was created by Ostrom and colleagues as a result of this commitment and vision, and will continue to honor and benefit from Lin's example. She leaves an extraordinarily vibrant living legacy through all those she influenced.

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Elinor Ostrom with the board of the IASC Council and the members of the Secretariat - IASC Hyderabad Global Conference 2011

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