The WISE Prize for Education

Laureates by Year

patrickawuah.jpg 2017 - Dr. Patrick Awuah, Ghana

The 2017 WISE Prize for Education was presented to Dr. Patrick Awuah, President and Co-Founder of Ashesi University. Dr. Awuah founded Ashesi in 2002, today, Ashesi University College is firmly established as one of Ghana’s premier universities. Overlooking the capital city, Accra, Ashesi is home to nearly 900 students who are poised for leadership in growing entrepreneurial sectors across Africa as well as in building responsible government. Dr. Patrick Awuah’s vision for Ashesi is driven directly by a determination to build a standard of leadership motivated not by the promise of entitlement but by a strong sense of community responsibility for the greater social good.

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi
2015 - Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan

The 2015 WISE Prize for Education was presented to Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, founder and CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL). Dr. Yacoobi founded the Institute in 1995 in response to the lack of education and healthcare in Afghanistan.  When girls’ education was banned under Taliban rule, the AIL organized underground home schools for 3,000 girls across the country. AIL offers teacher training programs for Afghan teachers in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with continuous training allowing them to deepen and strengthen their skills. The Institute was also the first to open learning centers for women in Afghanistan, and now provides hundreds of thousands of women and children with services, vocational skills, literacy and continuous empowerment at the grassroots level.
2014 - Ms Ann Cotton, The United Kingdom

The 2014 WISE Prize for Education was presented to Ms Ann Cotton, Founder and President of Camfed. In 1993, Cotton founded the Campaign for Female Education, which sponsors programs designed and implemented by communities to fully suit their unique needs. The organization takes a holistic approach by working in partnership with all the constituencies that influence a girl’s education and life choices to break the cycle of poverty, child marriage, high birth rates, and high rates of HIV/AIDS.  Innovative, community-led education programs have already benefitted over three million children in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Malawi, and are implemented across 5,085 partner schools in 115 rural districts.

2013 - Ms. Vicky Colbert, Colombia

Ms Vicky Colbert, winner of the 2013 WISE Prize for Education, is Founder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva.  Ms Colbert recognized that education is the keystone of human development. Combining her experience as a researcher, policy maker, and social entrepreneur, Ms Colbert’s initiative brought student-centered methods to neglected regions of Colombia.  The program has been implemented throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in East Timor and Vietnam, empowering five million children around the globe with high-quality basic education.  

2012 – Dr. Madhav Chavan, India 

Dr. Madhav Chavan, Co-founder and CEO of Pratham, the largest education NGO in India, won the WISE Prize for Education in 2012. Dr Chavan devised a simple formula to bring basic education to millions of under-privileged children in India. The organization’s programs are now active in 17 of the country’s 28 states. Pratham’s initiatives address the pre-school education needs of both in-school and out-of-school children –including computer literacy, vocational training, and special programs for vulnerable and working children.
2011 – Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Bangladesh

The innaugural WISE Prize for Education was presented to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairman of BRAC, one of the world’s leading development organizations. For over 40 years, BRAC has contributed directly to the education of more than 10 million students, from pre-primary through secondary levels. Now active in nine other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, BRAC is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the world.