Press Release

New Yidan Prize set to transform global education
2016.5.22

New Yidan Prize set to transform global education

World’s biggest education accolade to award annual prizes totaling HK$60 million  (about US$7.6 million),
half of which will fund ground-breaking education research and development initiatives

Hong Kong, 22 May, 2016 – The Yidan Prize today unveiled the world’s largest education awards scheme, and called for nominations for the inaugural awards, with the winners to be announced in September 2017, and a ceremony and the Yidan Prize Summit to be held December the same year in Hong Kong.

Founded by the core founder of Tencent Holdings Ltd Charles Chen Yidan, the Yidan Prize is the largest of its kind in monetary terms, with annual awards of HK$60 million (about US$7.6 million) divided between two categories – The Yidan Prize for Education Research and The Yidan Prize for Education Development. The Prize is financed and governed by a HK$2.5 billion (about US$320 million) trust. The endowment was made prior to the establishment of Yidan Prize.

The initiative recognizes outstanding individuals or teams of up to three people – teachers, researchers, academics, policymakers, and social activists, among others – and funds education initiatives across the world through impact investment.

Charles Chen Yidan, founder of the Yidan Prize, said: “The Prize recognizes and supports agents of change whose work transforms education in a sustainable way, and encourages innovative approaches to education research and development. It is intended to ignite constructive and inclusive dialogue around education. Through education, we can help tomorrow’s global citizens shine and create a better world.”

Over 200 education experts, including Dr Qian Tang, assistant director-general for education at UNESCO, and Dr Koichiro Matsuura, former director-general of UNESCO, policy makers, business leaders, philanthropists and diplomats, and international media attended the Prize’s official launch ceremony today at the Kowloon Shangri-La in Hong Kong.

Speaking at the event, John Tsang Chun-wah, GBM, JP, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong SAR Government, said, “Education is certainly the most powerful equalizer that drives our society forward, sustaining the growth of each and every modern economy.  Education is more than just critical investment in human capital, it is also the most rewarding investment in humanity.  Collectively, as well as individually. I am glad to learn that the Yidan Prize Foundation will be presenting annual awards starting from 2017 to recognize the achievements and to support the work of commendable educators from around the world.”

The event included a panel discussion on the future of education, moderated by Christopher Clague, senior editor of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The Yidan Prize for Education Research recognizes outstanding research that makes a significant contribution to education, while the Yidan Prize for Education Development recognizes innovative ideas that tackle pressing education challenges.

Each prize totals HK$30 million (about US$3.8 million), with a cash award of HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million), and another HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million) impact investment, to be distributed in three installments over the three years to finance the winners’ research or projects. Gold medals will be presented to the winners at the inaugural Yidan Prize presentation.

Dr Qian Tang, assistant director-general for education at UNESCO, who chairs the Yidan Prize’s Global Advisory Board, said, “The world today is facing huge challenges of providing inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all citizens. It is extremely important to mobilize all stakeholders to join this endeavour. I believe that the newly established Yidan Prize, which intends to award the most prominent educational innovations and projects, will make a significant contribution to the noble cause as giving the opportunity to all children, young people and adults to gain the knowledge and skills in order to live in dignity and to fulfil their potential.”

Nomination process

The Yidan Prize will invite nominators, comprising government bodies, non-government organizations and professional associations, and thought leaders, to propose nominees. 

Self-nomination is allowed in exceptional cases.

The two independent judging panels will screen valid nominations and select a candidate for each prize category.

Prof Paul Chu Ching-wu, professor of physics, T.L.L., temple chair of science, University of Houston heads the Yidan Prize for Education Research panel, and Dorothy K. Gordon, director-general of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT leads the Yidan Prize for Education Development panel.

Candidates will be assessed on four criteria.

Nominated research or projects must:

·         Be future-oriented;

·         Be innovative;

·         Be transformative; and

·         Achieve sustainable results.
 

The Judging Committee will then pass its selection to the Board of Directors for approval and endorsement.

Dr Koichiro Matsuura, former director-general of UNESCO, who heads the Judging Committee for the Yidan Prize, said, “I am confident that the Yidan Prize will make a very important contribution to the achievement of Education goal, one of the major goals in the new Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, adopted at the United Nations Summit last year.”

To quantify the challenges and opportunities in expanding and improving access to education, furnishing students with the skills they need, and leveraging technology in education, The Yidan Prize commissioned the EIU to conduct a research project, Yidan Prize Forecast, Education to 2030, which identifies five global education indicators across 25 economies.

The indicators are public expenditure on education; the affordability of tertiary education; youth unemployment; the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates, also known as STEM, in the labor force; and internet access in schools.

 

-END-

Check out Charles' full speech at the press conference

1.The Yidan Prize today unveiled the world’s largest education awards scheme. Guests attending the press conference included (from the left) Christopher Clague – senior editor of thought leadership at The Economist Intelligence Unit, Dr Qian Tang – assistant director-general for education of UNESCO, Clive Lee – chief operating officer of Chen Yidan Foundation ,Charles Chen Yidan - core founder of Tencent Holdings Limited, Dr Koichiro Matsuura – former director-general of UNESCO, Professor Paul Chu Ching-wu – professor of physics, T. L. L. Temple of Science of University of Houston, Dorothy K Gordon – director-general, Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT.
 

2.Charles Chen Yidan, founder of the Yidan Prize gave a speech at the press conference.
 

3. Education experts from around the world addressed topics related to education.

 

Notes to editors:

About Yidan Prize

The Yidan Prize is founded by the core founder of Tencent Holdings Limited. The Prize aims to recognize and support change makers for their most forward looking innovation that can create sustainable impacts on education systems for a better future. The Prize comprises two categories - the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development. The Prize is financed and governed by a HK$2.5 billion (about US$320 million) independent trust. Each prize carries an award of HK$30 million (about US$3.87 million), with a cash award of HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million), and another HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million) impact investment, and a gold medal. Through a series of initiatives, the prize serves to provide a platform that allows the global community to engage in conversation around education and to play a role in education philanthropy. For more information, please visit www.yidanprize.org.

 

Yidan Prize Foundation
Lawrence Lui
Tel: +852 2155 1582
Email: lawrence@yidanprize.org

Weber Shandwick
Mokka Mok / Winky Chow
Tel: +852 2533 9971/ 2533 9923
Email: 
mmok2@webershandwick.com  / 
wchow@webershandwick.com

Download Press Release

Worldwide Educating For The Future Index

Download full report

As the world becomes ever more uncertain and volatile, how well is your country educating the next generation the skills needed for the future?