The modern world enabled humans to replace boundaries with bridges. Living quality became more relaxed and more convenient for all walks of life. Despite the bridges formed by technology, our society remains divided because of mismatch in the norms of yesterday and tomorrow. This disparity gave the young generation a dilemma on success, an essential societal determinant for living standards. Although time changed the world, the way we view a successful person still clings to historical and cultural perspectives. The most intelligent species on this planet remain stagnant on the concept of relating success to the number of awards based on outdated criteria.
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Why Do We Award People’s Efforts?
Recognizing a child’s effort in class has become a tradition for schools at the end of the school year. Certificates, medals, and trophies are the items held by a student when he or she passes the front stage making that formal pose for the sake of a picture. For parents, it is overwhelming to see their child given an award either for an outstanding performance or right conduct or both. But, a child who knows a little about the world, he or she might wonder why giving them awards is necessary.
Phaleristics (or faleristics in some variations) is the field of study related to the merit given to people. The answers come from a phalerist’s perspective. According to Dr. Jana Gallus, the underlying reasons for giving awards are the establishment of prestige and legacy. But, it could also be to influence the flow of an industry. For example, the Academy Awards or popularly known as Oscars, is one of the award-giving bodies appreciating art on the film industry. For many years, Hollywood celebrities look forward to this event. Whether you want to be an award-giving body or a potential nominee, awards exist because they acknowledge success and excellent qualities justifying the importance of awards in life.
Awards: A Multifaceted Recognition
Phaleristics has historical and cultural roots from European civilization. Long before, the European continent was a battlefield filled with blood and tears of knights fighting for protection and dominance of one’s society. This period of invasion brought about an emergence of organizations within communities. Moreover, this brought the order of societies into existence. Rulers identified among their warriors who exemplified loyalty and dignity. Collectively, the classification of warriors are according to their order; They had a visible symbol that signifies their honor to serve their people. Handful examples are the Military Order of St. Henry, Order of the Sword, and Order of the Red Eagle.
The historical root of placing insignia to knights of honor and loyalty gave birth to the concept of award-giving to meritorious excellence in other fields. Today, there are tons of awards given out each year in various fields. Here are some of the popular awards:
- Academic-Related Awards
The Nobel Prize is one of the greatest awards about revolutionary ideas in the academe. The criterion for this award knows no border of gender, nationality, or religious beliefs. The award was created years after its proponent, Alfred Nobel, died in 1896. Nobel was a Swedish chemist who was famous for inventing the dynamite. He left 9 million dollars, and a last will statement to create this prestigious award given annually to anyone who “have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. ”
Being awarded is similar to receiving a congratulations message for getting the jackpot on an unexpected night. At present, the Nobel Prize has six categories: Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Peace, Literature, and Economics. The works of Albert Einstein won the prize in the Physics category for the discovery of the photoelectric effect. However, some candidates turned down the prize, such as Le Duc Tho, who believes he didn’t deserve the prize for the Peace category because his home country isn’t at peace.
- Literature and Journalism Awards
Yes, writing can take you places and can give you awards, too. Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Pulitzer Prize, and Hugo Award are just a few of internationally recognized awards for writers and journalists. Giving literary awards boil down to a general truth that is to highlight an exceptional written artifact. Although it is unclear as to why literary awards are needed, this kind of recognition for a writer is worth the sleepless nights reading a work over and over again.
Hugo Awards are specifically for works in science fiction. Administered by the World Science Fiction Society, the 2019 recipients include “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “The Calculating Stars,” and “Wayfarers.” On the other hand, Pulitzer Prize awards those who excel in the field of American journalism, literature, and composition. The British counterpart, Man Booker Prize for Fiction, awards quality English novels annually.
- Film and Music Awards
If you spend your life watching all the movies created, you wouldn’t be able to watch every movie there is on the planet. In that case, film and music awards help a cinephile choose a worthwhile movie based on a director’s recognition history. Local and international awards are abundant in this industry. Among those, the popular ones are Oscars and Grammy Awards.
Recently, Oscars faced controversy because of unfair decisions and inequality issues. Marginalizing African-American artists and favoring men over women nominees for best director are a few concerns raised against this famous event. Despite the controversy, it will continue to do better for the 92nd Oscars in February 2020. In the music industry, the well-known Grammy Awards is a recognition for a lifetime. It gives recognition to exceptional music in the industry. Just like Oscars, it has a couple of issues regarding the recipient of the awards. Perhaps, setting standards for film and music isn’t in a good relationship with fair decisions. No matter how objective we try, creativity brings out a subjective judgment.
An award can have many faces in the industry. It can be as simple as the recognition of an aspiring singer or as grand as a dream come true of an established writer. No matter which stepping stone you are right now, there is always room for improvement to achieve a prestigious award. After all, awards may be extra, but they tell us stories of hard work and sacrifices.
Do I Deserve an Award?
An award-giving can make mistakes. No matter how tedious the process for choosing the perfect candidate for an award is, judges can still pick an undeserving person for it. Awarding ceremonies happen in public places, or there is media personnel to give coverage to the event. Also, the selection committee might overlook some past performance that isn’t suitable for the award. Other than a past mistake, the future action of an awardee can also be grounds for an ousted award.
An award-giving body can make the wrong decisions. The World Wide Fund for Nature or commonly known as WWF, is the prime mover for protecting wildlife and reducing human’s negative impact on the environment. It so happened that the honorary president chosen by this organization was the King of Spain, Juan Carlos. His Botswana hunting trip ruined his post as a partner of WWF in its wildlife preservation. Although the King apologized to the public, his mistake affects his record for being nominated to another environment-related position.
Award-giving bodies are imperfect. Nobel Prize winners can also go wrong with their works. A Portuguese brain surgeon, António Egas Moniz, was awarded a Nobel Prize for medicine in incising a part of the brain supposedly to cure mental disorders. This procedure called lobotomy had adverse effects on the patient rather than putting them in a better condition. Today, lobotomy is not an advisable procedure to treat mental illness. Some critics, however, claimed that the method developed by Moniz was the best immediate relief to mental illness at the time.
Indeed, awarding people is not a perfect system. In the first place, we do not live in a perfect society. Perhaps, by taking things into perspective, we will understand that giving awards can do more good than harm. Awards can be somebody’s source of strength and inspiration. Besides, in a changing world, we genuinely do not know if we deserve an award or not. What if an unexpected discovery today can make Einstein’s work invalid? What if everything you know about the world proves to be wrong soon? The question “Do I deserve this award?” is not a question for the future. Instead, it is a question answerable today up until it no longer satisfies the truth.
How to Establish An Award?
In history, only rulers of the land have the authority to grant an order to a loyal knight. Similarly, to give an award for excellent work done, the award-giving body must have prestige and reputable standing. It takes a lot of sweat to gain public trust for an organization or a lot of spare money to fund a foundation responsible for the selection committee. However, the creativity of human minds explains complicated things in simpler terms. It may not be as great as the Nobel Prize, but there’s a ladder to climb to on the way up.
Step 1: Give An Award Its Story
The name of an award is easy as pie. Most international awards draw names from the most significant contributor. It can be from an organization’s core missions such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Human Rights Award that gives distinction to remarkable achievements in the promulgation of human rights. Perhaps, it draws inspiration from an outstanding personality such as the Khwarizmi International Award given by the President of Iran for outstanding research endeavors.
However, to give a story to an award is a tedious process of trial and error. It is just like Archimedes’ eureka moment on a bathtub. The story must be outside of the box. It must have compelling reasons why the existence of such an award creates a sustainable impact for today and tomorrow. A story makes an award unique and worthy of sacrifices. If you want to become a credible award-giving body, start drafting that story.
Step 2: Estimate the Budget per Category
They say money can’t buy happiness. But, the world operates with money. Therefore, if you want to become an award-giving body, have some money as a prize. An award for innovative outputs is not worth a single sheet of paper. There must be something else more rewarding than a congratulation. Aside from that, think of the sub-categories of your award. Take a look at the awards for the film industry. There is an award for the best film, best cinematography, best actress, best director, and so on. It is best to give an estimated budget for a category. If applicable, tracked financial transactions is a good practice to avoid any loss.
Step 3: Open a Call for Nomination
There must be a committee responsible that evaluates and decides for the nominees. Everybody deserves appreciation but not recognition. No matter how deserving a candidate is, a nominee should adhere to the policies and regulations by the award-giving body. After polishing the details on the application and selection process, open a call for nomination by posting an award application form on websites or social media accounts. Online polls are the best option for nomination-based awards. Because of technology, voting happens digitally that a voter can do within a minute or so.
If your award does not involve nominations such as the verification of award form, you can have some printed forms for an applicant to fill in. Unlike nomination-based award forms, this type needs a detailed description of the application process steps. Also, it requires personal details of an applicant, unlike the nomination-based awards that a voter can opt to hide his or her identity.
Step 4: Evaluate Each Nominee
In this phase, the quality control committee shall evaluate each application thoroughly. It is also the phase to validate important information. Then, if records are valid and authentic, the selection committee takes over. They are composed of judges with a copy of the criteria set by the award-giving body. These people should be fair and objective in choosing the right candidate to earn the trust of the people. It adds more credibility. If not, controversies pile up, destroying the reputation you worked hard.
To give a justifiable decision, make sure it fits the description from each criterion. Ranking the accumulated score from each nominee helps the selection process. Don’t forget to post the results on the target date. The announcement depends on your organization’s preference. If the award is prestigious, planning for a red carpet is a start. However, most awarding ceremonies happen in ordinary places with just the prize and certificate and a piece of lively music in the background.
The world today has a different taste. Success based only on awards is dying slowly. The world demands more revolutionary ideas reflecting equality and creativity on a palette. If you want to become an award-giving body, always acknowledge feedbacks. Win the heart of the people. The most important thing other than an award, prestige, or glory is to gain the trust of the people. They trust more to what they see in a person rather than what standards think of a person.
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