- American Biographical Institute
The American Biographical Institute (ABI) is a paid-inclusion biographical reference directory publisher based in Raleigh, North Carolina which has been publishing biographies since 1967. It generates revenue from sales of certificates and books.
The ABI invites individuals to purchase various honors as a commemorative in their inclusion for a specific biography. Such honors include "International Man of the Year," "Most Admired Man of the Decade" or "Outstanding Man of the 21st Century" (see list below), or to be included in ABI publications, such as 500 Leaders of Science or The World Book of Knowledge, in exchange for a contribution fee. Those who accept, who sometimes write their own biographies, are offered books or certificates at prices as high as US $795.
On its website, the publisher describes itself as "one of the world’s leading biographical reference publishers and authorities on global contemporary achievement" and claims that "inclusion in an ABI reference title is based on personal achievement alone and is not available for purchase." The ABI shares an address and P.O. box with the United Cultural Convention, another purveyor of for-profit awards.
The ABI is also the co-host with the International Biographical Centre of a yearly World Forum, (previously the International Congress on Arts and Communications) which invites a group for a week of professional seminars, artistic displays and performances, and culture sharing. Host cities over the 31 yearly meetings have included: New York; Washington D.C.; New Orleans; San Francisco; Edinburgh; Cambridge, UK; Nairobi; Madrid; Lisbon; Cambridge, Mass. USA; Oxford, UK.; Singapore; and Sydney. The Maitre Artiste of Ethiopia, Afewerk Tekle is a regular attendee. No proceedings of these forums are produced except from the ABI which includes these in a newsletter.
In 2007, referring to the International Biographical Centre, the American Bibliographical Institute and Marquis Who's Who, Jan Margosian, consumer information coordinator for the Oregon Department of Justice, warned consumers to be wary and called the companies "pretty tacky", adding "I don't know why they would put you in there if they weren't hoping to get you to buy the book.. "You truly have to look at how they are marketing and what the spin is. It's something you might want to watch out for."
Awards and titles
New awards are continually created and marketed. Most awards are available for between US $195 and $495, payable by the recipient, depending on their level of prestige and the quality of the printing on the certificate and the material in the frame or mount. In 2005 the Institute awarded 200 "Man of the Year" awards at between $195 and $295 each.
The ABI does not provide a consolidated list of all the awards, medals, diplomas and certificates it issues, but the titles of the honors may be identified through the recipients' use of them in their résumés.
The awards and titles issued by the American Biographical Institute include:
- 2010 Man of the year in finance
- Albert Einstein Award of Excellence
- Ambassador of Grand Eminence
- American Hall of Fame
- American Medal of Honor
- American Order of Excellence Medal
- Commemorative Medal of Honor
- Community Leader of America
- Congressional Medal of Excellence
- Contemporary Elite
- Continental Governor for the United States of America
- Deputy Governor of the American Biographical Institute Research Association
- Distinguished Leadership Award
- Distinguished Young Leadership Award
- Einsteinian Chair of Science
- Gold Record of Achievement
- Genius Laureate of the United States
- Great Minds of the 21st Century Award
- Great Women of the 21st Century Award
- International Cultural Diploma of Honor
- International Man of the Year
- International Medal of Vision
- International Peace Prize
- Key Award
- Legion of Honor
- Man of Achievement
- Man of science
- Man of the Year
- Master Diploma with honors
- Medical Science Award of Excellence
- Member of the World Institute of Achievement
- Most Admired Man of the Decade
- One of the Genius Elite
- Order of International Ambassadors & Deputy Governor
- Outstanding Man of the 20th Century
- Outstanding Man of the 21st Century
- Woman of Achievement
- Woman of the Year
- Woman of the Year in Medicine & Healthcare
- World Laureate of Norway
- World Lifetime Achievement Award
- World Medal of Freedom
- 25 Year Achievement Award
Example of a letter from the American Biographical Institute
Government leaders with ABI awards
- President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh
- Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto
- Chief Minister of Sikkim, Dr Pawan Chamling
- Turkish Political party leader/academician, Prof Dr. Haydar Bas.
- ^ a b c d American Biographical Institute website.
- ^ Richard Baker (27 August 2004). "Scam of the year a snip at $195". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/08/26/1093456749832.html?from=storyrhs. "Consumer Affairs Minister John Lenders has been asked to investigate a scam being run by a group called the American Biographical Institute after it told a Labor MP he would get a decree confirming his nomination as 2004 "man of the year" if he paid $ US 195 ($ A 276) … [Member for Mitcham] Mr Robinson said it was important the people behind the scam be stopped from requesting Australians to send money for a meaningless award… “It is very difficult to retrieve money from scams like this that are run overseas," [Mr. Lenders] said. "This is a scam that is well known to Consumer Affairs Victoria."
- ^ a b Parliament of New South Wales (1 March 2005, 6 April 2005). "Peace Prize Scam.". http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/la/qala.nsf/ad22cc96ba50555dca257051007aa5c8/ca25708400173f67ca25704600244af4!OpenDocument.
- ^ Rajesh Kochhar (16 January 1999). "The Sucker of the Year Award.". The Tribune. http://www.tribuneindia.com/1999/99jan16/saturday/head4.htm.
- ^ a b Tim Heald (February 2005). "I have been nominated for an International Peace Prize!". The Heald Report. http://www.timheald.com/TimHeald_new/includes/TH_Reports/TH_report_24.htm.
- ^ Bhavin Jankharia (10 August 1999). "The Awards Scam.". http://www.manfrommatunga.com/awards.htm.
- ^ Don Burleson (8 October 2006). "Are you a "Man of the Year"?". http://dba-oracle.blogspot.com/2006/10/are-you-man-of-year.html.
- ^ "Dubious awards: Sashes and such". Newsletter of the Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods) Volume 26 No. 1, Spring 2007. http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/news26_1/awards.htm.
- ^ a b c d David Vernon (July 2007). "David Vernon — Man of the Year!". Appeared as "The Price of Fame" in The Skeptic vol 27, No 2. http://web.mac.com/david.vernon/iWeb/The%20Canberra%20Journal/The%20Scribbles/53C521D3-72D2-4CB6-A20D-36BB0F2AEF9F.html. "Interestingly, neither ABI nor IBC lists their entire menu of awards on their websites — perhaps they think that to do so might make even the most gullible person a little suspicious… Western Australian Senator Ross Lightfoot, in his 1997 entry in Who’s Who in Australia p970, and on his Parliamentary website states that he is a Life Fellow of the International Biographical Centre. Such Fellowships can be had for a one-off payment of £795."
- ^ Seema Banerjee (17 July 2002). "Post: Commemorative Edition of "500 Leaders of Science"". Teachers.Net. http://teachers.net/projects/earthday/topic175/7.17.02.18.11.29.html.
- ^ a b Hannes Gassert (12 September 2004). "Me in "The World Book of Knowledge" (?)". http://hannes.kaywa.com/soc/me_in_the_world_book_of_knowledge_().html. "Alright, I'm rather credulous by nature, but heck, who would want the biography of a random 22-year old in an encyclopedia at the cost of $795 USD? This does indeed very much look like the scheme of the publishing house Belbo, Casaubon and Diotallevi, the heroes in Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, work for, publishing esoteric books at their authors' own expense."
- ^ a b Columnist Mike Awoyinfa (1 April 2006). "Should I accept this American award?". The Sun (Lagos). http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/columnists/pressclips/2006/pressclips-april-1-2006.htm. "I have just received this letter … telling me that I don’t know who I am and that I “should be proud” of my accomplishments … For the MAN OF THE YEAR Decree (unlaminated) the price is US $195.00. For the Decree Custom Laminated onto Finland Birch Wood, the price is US $295.00… They are asking me to send the money by cheque or money order or wire transfer. They are asking for my credit card number…"
- ^ Stover E. Harger III (14 February 2007). "Paying for prestige: the cost of recognition.". Daily Vanguard. http://media.www.dailyvanguard.com/media/storage/paper941/news/2007/02/14/News/Paying.For.Prestige.The.Cost.Of.Recognition-2718460.shtml.
- ^ Warner, Gerald (3 June 2007), "Degrees of vanity honour the ludicrous and grotesque", The Scotsman, http://news.scotsman.com/geraldwarner/Degrees-of-vanity-honour-the.3291534.jp .
- ^ North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Corporations Division 
- ^ Certificate of attendance
- ^ "Paying for prestige:the cost of recognition". Vanguard (Portland, Oregon). February 15, 2007. http://www.dailyvanguard.com/2.4060/paying-for-prestige-the-cost-of-recognition-1.311655.
- ^ "Excerpt of a letter from ABI (September 9, 2005)". http://www.math.uni-bielefeld.de/~ringel/man2005.htm.
- ^ Nick Pahys, Jr. "Awards". (of 28 awards listed, 12 are from IBC, 6 from ABI, some jointly from both). http://www.oneandonlypresidentialmuseum.com/awards.htm. "Ambassador of Grand Eminence."
- ^ "KL To Have R And R Centre For The Aged". October 5, 2005. http://www.bernama.com/kpdnhep/news.php?id=159204&lang=en. Retrieved 2009-09-28. [dead link]
- ^ Biography of Celia Hall-Thur, Wenatchee Valley College
- ^ Obituary for Pruella Cromartie Niver Canham
- ^ The awards and honours of Dr. Deepak P. Nandedkar
- ^ Neil Jan Gale. "Biography of Neil Jan Gale". http://www.drgale.com/neil_jan_gale_biography.htm. "Continental Governor for the United States of America."
- ^ Biography of Murray McGibbon
- ^ Biography of Dana Barry
- ^ President of Gambia
- ^ Dubious Awards, Sashes and Stuff
- ^ David Vernon - Man of the Year!
- ^ Munnings among Great Women of the 21st Century - Government Press Release
- ^ a b c d The Appreciative Inquiry Commons. "Paul J Meyer, Author and Founder". http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/practice/quotesDetail.cfm?coid=1442.
- ^ Chief Minister of Sikkim
- ^ Paying for Prestige
- ^ Raymond Newkirk Biography
- ^ H.Chen Biography
- ^ "High Awards & Recognitions". High Awards & Recognitions. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20070928004232/http://www.angelicinspirations.com/page104.htm.
- ^ Yvanka (Ivanka) B. Raynova Biography
- ^ a b "DANA M. BARRY, Ph.D., CPC". people.clarkson.edu. http://people.clarkson.edu/~dmbarry/. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- ^ Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, Western Australia. "World Medal of Freedom". http://www.docep.wa.gov.au/ConsumerProtection/scamnet/Scams/World_Medal_of_Freed.html. "It costs hundreds of dollars to receive your commemorative medal, certificate or book. But unlike the Nobel Prize, you won't find a list of winners, nominees or even the judging criteria on ABI's website… Don't be a "Fool of the Year" by falling for this nonsense."
- ^ Biography of Yahya Jammeh with CV on Gambia government website.
- ^ Biography of Benazir Bhutto on Famousmuslims.com website.
- ^ Biography of Pawan Chamling with CV on Sikkim National Informatics Center website.
- ^  Prof. Dr. Haydar Bas Biography in Turkish
- Company homepage
- Rothke, Ben (2009-08-04). "What's What with the Who's Who? Who would be so foolish as to pay for inclusion in a Who's Who book that no one reads?". CSOonline.com. Framingham, Massachusetts: CXO Media. http://www.csoonline.com/article/498903/What_s_What_with_the_Who_s_Who_. — First-hand account that exposes fraudulent who’s who publishers
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