Our story

What drives us to make a difference through education
Inspired to share the gift of learning
Our founder Dr Charles CHEN Yidan knows the difference education can make to a person's life. After all, it certainly changed his. After he'd passed China’s highly competitive gaokao university entrance exam, he went on to earn two degrees: a bachelor's in applied chemistry from Shenzhen University and a master’s in economic law from Nanjing University.
Charles and his grandmother
A family inspiration
As a child growing up in China’s Guangdong province, Charles was aware of the power of education. He was deeply touched by his grandmother who, with great fortitude living through war, famine and poverty, raised his father to become the very first college graduate in the village. He recalls how her love and firm belief in the value of education encouraged him to pave the way for his own educational career and subsequent entrepreneurial success.
“For this prize to be successful, it should be able to inspire others to take reference from it and be influential. Our focus is on the future. The prize should be able to shape the future. This is most important.”
— Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder, Yidan Prize
On both our medals, you’ll see “一”: a reminder to our laureates that our community is with them in spirit. And both depict a pine tree growing from a mountain rock: because the evergreen branches of education can spread in even the toughest conditions.
The front of the medal shows an individual deep in thought under a pine tree, gazing into the light. This represents how the recipient of the medal helps us all look forward to a better world through an improved understanding of education. On the back are the Thirteen Classics of Chinese philosophy—bound in a Western style to symbolize the international vision of the prize.
The front of the medal shows a standing figure poised to act while contemplating the light. This represents the achievements the recipient has already made—and the progress they will make in the future. On the back are 20 pages, representing the 20 books of the Analects of Confucius.
More to explore
Our global community
We make greater, faster progress together. That's why we’re bringing people closer together, so we can speak with a shared voice on issues that matter in education.
Our laureates
The Yidan Prize laureates are individuals and teams who have made significant contributions to improving education quality and expanding access to learning.