The world’s largest education prize – the inaugural Yidan Prize – laureates today accept the awards, each receiving a gold medal from The Honourable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBM, GBS, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, at the Yidan Prize Award Presentation Ceremony held at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Each of them will receive HK$30 million (about US$3.87 million) to recognize their distinguished contributions to global education and to help fund their future work.
Carol S. Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, the United States, has received the Yidan Prize for Education Research. Her groundbreaking research on the power of the “growth mindset”, based upon the belief that intelligence is not fixed and can be developed over time, has become an influential concept in the field of education. “It is a great honor to receive the Yidan Prize for Educational Research and I accept it on behalf of my extraordinary students and colleagues. It is their work as much as mine. It is critical for educators to know that we cannot nourish the mind without the heart. We cannot expect good learning – joyful and effective learning – to happen in a mind that is disconnected from the heart. And we cannot expect our students to create the world of tomorrow, the world that we hope for, without a heart-mind that connects them to each other, to the larger society, and to the planet as a whole,” Dweck said.
Vicky Colbert, founder and director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, Colombia, was awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Development. Her project Escuela Nueva (‘New School’ in Spanish) has improved the quality of education at rural public schools in Colombia since the mid-1970s. The pedagogical model has also been adopted by 16 countries, reaching over 5 million children.
“I am honored and deeply moved to receive this prestigious education Yidan Prize for Education Development. The recognition that we receive through this prestigious award is a further motivation to continue our commitment to the cause of basic education of high quality for all children. At Escuela Nueva Foundation, in Colombia and many other countries of the world we work to establish affordable schools of excellent quality where children, teachers and parents are empowered to learn and contribute to a culture of peace and citizenship in their environment,” Colbert said.
Each laureate receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million (about US$3.87 million) including a cash prize of HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million) and a project fund of HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million).
Presenting the awards, The Honourable Mrs Carrie Lam said: “The Yidan Prize gives us much to look forward to in education excellence. And for this, I am grateful to Dr Chen, the Yidan Prize Foundation and the international Judging Committee for their commitment to global education and educators, and for their contribution to the sustainable development of the world we live in. My congratulations again to this year’s laureates, Professor Dweck and Ms Colbert, for their distinguished achievements. Working together, I know we can create a better world through education.”
Dr Charles Chen Yidan, Founder of the Yidan Prize, said: “Yidan Prize aims to empower educators to transcend religion, race and nationality; to exert far-reaching, positive influence over humanity; and ultimately, to help create a better world. I hope that their practical experience and research findings can be applied more extensively, expanding their impact, and benefiting more people.”
The event was attended by prominent figures including H.E. Dr Ahmed Al-Eissa, Minister of Education, Saudi Arabia; Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Jaime Saavedra, Senior Director, Education, World Bank Group; among others.
The laureates are selected by a judging committee chaired by Dr Koichiro Matsuura, former director-general of UNESCO, which comprises two independent judging panels. Professor 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, former Director-General of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT leads the Yidan Prize for Education Development panel.