Established in 2011 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the WISE Prize for Education is the first distinction of its kind to recognize an individual or a team for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education. The WISE Prize for Education raises the status of education by giving it similar prestige to other areas for which international prizes exist –such as literature, peace, and economics.
The WISE Prize for Education Laureate, announced at the global biennial summit’s Opening Plenary Session, receives the WISE Prize medal and $500,000 (US).
The WISE Prize for Education Laureates are inspiring role models for all those concerned with building the future of education as the foundation for a more secure, prosperous, and sustainable world. To learn more about the previous WISE Prize laureates please visit Laureates by year page.
2021 WISE Prize for Education
WISE Prize for Education 2021 nomination period now open until 1 February 2021.
The WISE Prize for Education recognizes an individual or a team for an outstanding contribution to education at any level. The WISE Prize Laureate is announced at the Opening Plenary Session of the global biennial summit, and receives the WISE Prize for Education medal and $500,000 (US) cash fund dedicated to grow their initiative.
To learn more about the nomination guidelines and selection process, refer to the questions below.
The WISE Prize for Education recognizes an individual or a team for their outstanding contribution to education, and for their resolve to develop an idea or grow their initiative further. The WISE Prize for Education celebrates and shares the laureate’s vision in building the future of education by providing the Laureate(s) tailored support over two years to scale their impact.
The Laureate(s) will receive US $ 500,000 cash prize dedicated to continuing their work in education, and a medal.
The WISE Prize is not a grant scheme aimed at supporting new projects or organization. The prize is aimed at recognizing the accomplishment of an individual or team in education and their potential in shaping the future of education.
The 2021 WISE Prize for Education selection process only accepts nominations. Self-nominations will not be considered.
Potential WISE Prize for Education candidates can be researchers, education practitioners, policy makers, organization leaders and can belong to any education sector such as early childhood education, K-12, higher education, vocational training, differently abled development, informal education, distance-based learning, education technology and lifelong learning.
Nominees for the WISE Prize for Education can be from any part of the world, if they meet the criteria indicated on the next page.
- The nominator must be an individual and not an organization, the nominator could be working with the nominee, part of their community, one of the nominee’s end beneficiaries or have no relationship with the nominee.
- The nominator will fill out the nomination form and should know the nominee’s work very well.
- The nominator can fill out the nomination form without informing or asking for information from the nominee. The nominator can also request information from the nominee to fill the form.
- The nominator should provide the needed contact information, in case the WISE team would like to contact the nominator for further details.
Several nominations from different individuals may be submitted for the same individual, although this has no bearing on the judging process.
The same nominators may submit several nominations for different individuals or team.
The WISE Prize for Education recognizes an individual or a team for an outstanding contribution to education. The achievements of the nominated individual or team should have had a significant and lasting impact upon education at any level and should demonstrate an inspiring and visionary approach. The nominee(s) should meet the following criteria:
- Commitment to Education: The nominee(s) has proven a continuous commitment to addressing education challenge(s) locally or internationally
- Positive Systemic Innovation: the nominee(s) is a catalyst for systemic change by creating innovative solutions to local or international education challenge(s).
- Leadership: the vision of the nominee(s) is not only innovative but contextually challenges the status quo. The nominee(s) is the driving force behind the project/organization not simply the director. The nominee has the energy and aspiration to continue growing the impact of his or her work.
- Sustainable Impact: the contribution of the nominee(s) generates positive and sustainable impact in the lives of the targeted beneficiaries. Shortlisted nominee(s) must clearly outline how the WISE Prize for Education will optimize, grow and scale their impact.
- The nominator should create an account and complete the nomination form available on the WISE online application system
- The nomination form should be completed in English. Any other language will not be considered.
- The nomination form should be submitted before the deadline as the system automatically closes by the timeline, and WISE does not accept nominations after the deadline, February 1, 2021.
- To prevent any accidental loss of information while completing the form, we encourage nominators to save at every step.
- The nominator should fill out all the required questions, the nomination cannot be submitted until all the required questions are completed.
- Each nomination requires two supporters; the two references should be individuals who have worked closely with the nominee from collaborating organizations, previous colleagues…etc. The WISE team will contact the supporters, the supporters SHOULD NOT send letters of the recommendation to WISE unless they are requested.
- WISE will contact the two supporters, kindly make sure that their details are up to date and correct.
- A confirmation email along with a PDF version of the nomination form will be sent to the nominator once the system has received the nomination.
WISE Due diligence: as the WISE Prize for Education is awarded on nominations, WISE will contact eligible nominee(s) to conduct further due diligence and verify the information on the nomination forms.
Committee evaluation: a committee of education experts will be responsible for evaluating the initial review of nominations and will propose a shortlist of finalists based on the criteria and the information provided in the forms.
Follow-up with finalists: finalists will be required to submit a short proposal on how they would use the WISE Prize funds of US $500,000 and how winning the WISE Prize for Education would benefit them. The jury will review the proposal during the final evaluation period
Jury evaluation: a jury composed of prominent educational figures drawn from government, civil society, the private sector, international organizations, universities and social entrepreneurs will review shortlisted finalists and their proposals. The Jury will select the 2021 WISE Prize for Education Laureate.
Prior to any decision by the Committee and Jury, and during the entire selection process, WISE, the Committee and the Jury reserve the right to ask for clarification or supplementary information from the nominee. Additionally, information provided on the submitted forms will be reviewed and, in the event of any false or inaccurate information, the nomination will be deemed invalid.
Upon selection, the 2021 WISE Prize for Education Laureate(s) will agree to provide WISE with four reports outlining the progress of their work and the impact of the cash prize over two years. The reports will be sent to WISE and the format and terms will be outlined on a Memorandum of Understanding between WISE and the Laureate.
WISE reserves the right to publicize the winning candidates by means of any kind of communication (internal and/or commercial advertising), through any promotional media (press, magazines, catalogues, websites, etc.) and all over the world.
This communication may be in the form of pictures, recordings (audio and video) and texts supplied by the laureate.
The Laureate agrees to provide photos and descriptions of their projects at the time of being awarded the WISE Prize and for a period of at least two years following the 2021 Summit. They also acknowledge the right of the WISE initiative to use this material.
The Laureate agrees to provide the WISE initiative with information on any developments related to their projects that may be a result of, or linked to, the WISE initiative and the WISE Prize for Education.
The Laureate also agrees to give full access and facilitate, when necessary, the film production conducted by the WISE team.
Nominators agree that their personal details will be included in a database owned by the WISE initiative, which will be the exclusive custodian of the said details for the purpose of managing the specified competition. The WISE initiative will not sell or distribute applicants’ personal data to third parties.
Nominators have the right to access and modify any personal data concerning themselves. Nominators also have the right to refuse to be included in a database and may exercise these rights at any time by making the appropriate request in writing to email@example.com
WISE reserves the right to modify the conditions of the call for nomination or the WISE Prize at any time.
WISE shall not be liable if the call for nominations is extended, shortened, modified or cancelled, or if problems arise with the website or due to loss of materials in e-mail and/or postal services.
Nominators and finalists cannot dispute the choice of Finalists or the winning candidate nor can they dispute the allocation of the WISE Prize for Education.
WISE owns the intellectual property rights for texts, photos, films, documentaries, etc. made for the WISE initiative and also for the trademarks and logos appearing in various supporting media. Consequently, the nominees cannot use them, in whole or in part, unless they have received specific authorization from the WISE Team.
Governing Law – Jurisdiction
These rules for the WISE Prize for Education are governed by Qatari law and, in the event of a dispute regarding their interpretation or performance, such a dispute shall be submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the competent courts in Doha, Qatar.
Information and Queries
To access the application system and for further information about the 2021 WISE Prize for Education please visit the official website. For any queries, please contact the WISE Team through the website or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laureates by year
2019 Laureate: Larry Rosenstock
Larry Rosenstock is CEO and founding principal of High Tech High, a network of sixteen K-12 public charter schools in California, and is the Special Advisor to the President of the HTH Graduate School of Education. Larry taught carpentry in urban high schools in Boston and Cambridge and was principal of the Rindge School of Technical Arts, and of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. A member of the Massachusetts and U.S. Supreme Court Bars, he served as an attorney at the Harvard Center for Law and Education, and was an instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and at the University Of California at Berkeley. He directed the federal New Urban High School Project.
2017 Laureate: Dr. Patrick Awuah, Ghana
Dr. Awuah co-founded Ashesi University in 2002, 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.
2015 Laureate: Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan
Dr. Yacoobi founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) 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.
2014 Laureate: Ms Ann Cotton, 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.
2013 Laureate: 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.
2012 Laureate: 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 Laureate: 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.