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Nomination For The World’s Largest Education Prize Is Now Open

China’s Philanthropist of the Year Charles Chen Yidan to award $7.6 million annually for education research and development.

21 September 2016, Hong Kong – The official nomination procedure for the largest international prize in education research and development The Yidan Prize has been launched. The Yidan Prize established by Charles Chen Yidan, core founder of Chinese internet company Tencent and China’s Philanthropist of the Year, recognizes individuals whose work transforms education in an innovative way that can be repeated around the world to provide access and improve the quality of education for all.

In early September Mr. Chen visited the USA to introduce the Yidan Prize to leading members of the academic community as well as facilitate dialogue on the future of education with a number of educational institutions including Harvard University, Columbia University, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also had meetings with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and among other foundations. During his stay in the USA, Mr. Chen gave a keynote at UBS Philanthropy Forum – Americas.

Speaking on his visit to the USA, Mr. Chen said: “The idea of the Yidan Prize is to highlight awareness of the best projects and ideas out there today that could benefit people all around the world. There are fantastic initiatives all across the United States.  Some schools are working with the idea of games as the way to a child’s mind.  Others are engaged in ‘flipping’ the school program, so that children watch their lessons at home and do their homework at school, under the supervision of the teacher.   Some are working with nature and the environment as the entry point to a child’s mind. Personalization of the school program allows for the interests, strengths and weaknesses of each child to form his or her curriculum, starting from a young age and continuing through higher education. I want not only to show my support with grant money associated with the Prize, but also to spread the word about best practice that could be accessed by all.  I hope we receive many nominations from the United States and other countries.”

After the Yidan Prize Foundation’s visit to the United States, the team will head off to Canada as part of its outreach to North America. During the nomination period from this September to March next year, the Foundation plans to visit Europe, Asia and other regions to call for more high quality nominations from across the globe.      

Each nomination will be reviewed by a jury of highly respected experts led by former director-general of UNESCO Dr. Kichiro Matsuura. The Prize is divided between two categories – The Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development. 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.

Judging committee will review each nomination based on the criteria covering sustainability, future orientation, ability to achieve transformation and spirit of innovation. The first laureates will be announced in September 2017.

The Yidan Prize in education research and development will become the largest educational prize in the world.  Each recipient will receive a total of HK$30 million (about $3.8 million), with a cash award of HK$15 million (about $1.9 million), and another HK$15 million (about $1.9 million) impact investment, to finance the winners’ research or projects. The Prize is backed by an endowment trust of HK$2.5 billion (about $320 million).

About The Yidan Prize

Founded in 2016 by Charles Chen Yidan, the Yidan Prize reaches out to the world to give recognition to individuals whose work makes profound contributions to education research and development, with the ultimate aim of creating a better world through education. The Yidan Prize consists of two awards: the Yidan Prize for Education Research, which recognizes outstanding research that amounts to significant contributions to education, and the Yidan Prize for Education Development, which recognizes innovative ideas that tackle pressing challenges in the field of education. Nominees can be either individuals or working teams, each consisting up to three representatives who can be teachers, researchers, academics, policymakers and advocates among others. Yidan Prize Laureate receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million (about $3.8 million) including a cash prize and a project fund of HK$15 million (about $1.9 million) each. To ensure transparency and sustainability, the prize is managed by Yidan Prize Foundation and governed by an independent trust with an endowment of HK$2.5 billion (about $320 million). Through a series of initiatives, the prize serves to establish a platform that allows the global community to engage in conversation around education and to play a role in education philanthropy.

As a part of the project, the Yidan Prize Foundation commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct a study on future trends in education across 25 economies.  The results can be viewed here:  

For more information on the Yidan Prize:


For nominees:

Nominations can be made by individuals or institutions – including schools, international organizations and private companies – from anywhere in the world. Self-nomination is allowed in exceptional cases.

Submissions must be made through the Yidan Prize website by March 31 2017. Nominations will be reviewed by international Judging Committee chaired by Dr Koichiro Matsuura, former director-general of UNESCO. The laureates are to announced in September 2017 and awarded at the Yidan Prize Summit in December 2017.

To submit a nomination:


About Mr. Charles Chen Yidan

Charles Chen Yidan is a core founder of Chinese Internet company Tencent and founder of the Yidan Prize.

He co-founded Tencent in 1998 and remains Advisor Emeritus at the company. In 2007, he launched the Chinese Internet industry’s first charity foundation with his partners – the Tencent Charity Foundation – of which he remains honorary chairman. Since 2009, Mr. Chen invested in Wuhan College, and established the first private non-profit university in Central China.

This year Mr. Chen has topped the 13th China Charity Philanthropist List ranking. He was also named China’s Philanthropist of the Year and featured in Harvard’s recent China Philanthropy Project.

Mr. Chen holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Chemistry from Shenzhen University and a master’s degree in Economic Law from Nanjing University. He served as visiting scholar at Stanford Law School in 2014.

 The Worldwide Educating for the Future Index 2018

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