The WISE Prize for Education

2013 WISE Prize Laureate - Ms Vicky Colbert

2013 WISE Prize Laureate - Ms Vicky Colbert

Ms. Vicky Colbert, Founder and Director of the Colombian organization Fundacion Escuela Nueva and co-creator of the Escuela Nueva educational model, has been awarded the 2013 WISE Prize for Education.

In 1975, at a time when Colombia was better known for ideological conflict and political violence, Ms. Vicky Colbert set out to lead her own quiet revolution. Convinced that without basic education for all, nothing could be achieved, she transformed the lives of ordinary people in the Colombian countryside by putting the power of quality education in their hands.

The Escuela Nueva model began as a bottom-up approach by bringing together a team of experienced teachers from rural areas to maximize the impact of education both, on the ground and at the highest level. Placing children at the heart of the learning process, teachers became facilitators, working with communities, families, research institutions and policy makers.

This unique pedagogical model became a national policy in Colombia in the 1980’s and was replicated in various regions around the country, expanding to urban and displaced populations. 

With a demonstrated impact on academic achievement, the model has been recognized as one of the most successful public policy reforms among developing countries by organizations including the World Bank and the United Nations.

To date, Escuela Nueva has been implemented throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, East Timor and Vietnam, reaching more than five million children around the globe. 

Receiving the Prize, Ms. Vicky Colbert said: “I am very honored and humbled to receive the 2013 WISE Prize for Education. This Prize recognizes that bringing education to all children and empowering them for lifelong learning is an important foundation for human development, and it is something that can be achieved when teachers and children are given the right tools to lead change.”



The WISE Prize for Education Jury is composed of five internationally known individuals who have achieved a high level of distinction in their fields. 

They have proven themselves professionally, and as citizens of the world. The members of the Jury are committed to education, human rights and a sustainable future for the planet.

Dr James H. Billington
Dr. James Billington
Dr. Monique Canto-Sperber
Dr. Monique Canto-Sperber,
Ms Michèle D. Pierre-Louis
Dr. Michèle Pierre-Louis,
Prof. Zhou Qifeng
Prof. Zhou Qifeng,


H.E. Prof. Sheikha Al-Misnad
H.E. Prof. Sheikha Al-Misnad,
Prof. Marwan Awartani
Prof. Marwan Awartani,
Palestinian Territory
Ms Aicha Bah Diallo
H.E. Aicha Bah Diallo,
Dr. Rosa Maria Torres del Castillo
Dr. Rosa Maria Torres del Castillo,
Dr. Stefanos Gialamas
Dr. Stefanos Gialamas,
Dr. Allan Goodman
Dr. Allan Goodman,
Dr. Don Guttenplan
Dr. Don Guttenplan,
Prof. Asha Kanwar
Prof. Asha Singh Kanwar,
Ms Frannie Léautier
Ms Frannie Léautier,
Prof. Pan Guang
Prof. Pan Guang,
Dr. Jacek Strzemieczny
Dr. Jacek Strzemieczny,
Mr. Stavros Yannouka
Mr. Stavros Yiannouka,