The Yidan Prize Foundation Announces the 2020 Yidan Prize Laureates

The Yidan Prize Foundation Announces the 2020 Yidan Prize Laureates


Professor Carl Wieman, Ms Lucy Lake and Ms Angeline Murimirwa were awarded for their contribution to STEM and women’s education

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 29, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-  The Yidan Prize Foundation, a global philanthropic educational foundation inspiring future progress and change in education, today has announced the 2020 laureates of the Yidan Prize. The Yidan Prize is the world’s largest international prize in education.  It recognizes individuals and teams, who have contributed significantly to education research and education development. Professor Carl Wieman has been awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Research, while Ms Lucy Lake and Ms Angeline Murimirwa from CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education) have been granted the Yidan Prize for Education Development – the first team to be granted a Yidan prize since its inception in 2017. The laureates will be recognized at the Yidan Prize Awards Presentation Ceremony and the Yidan Prize Annual Summit held virtually on 7 December.

“Education transformation is more important than ever. The outstanding achievements and commitment of this year’s laureates demonstrate that in a post-pandemic world, education continues to be of vital importance to solving future problems and creating positive change in individuals, communities and the environment. Innovative ideas and practices are key to driving progress in education to create a better world,” said Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder of Yidan Prize Foundation. “This year has been challenging for many in the education system with COVID-19 causing unprecedented disruption to learning and to schools. It is therefore crucial that we champion people with the courage to bring educational change and reimagine the future of education.”

Celebrating Excellence in Education

The Yidan Prize 2020 laureates were chosen by the Yidan Prize Judging Committee in a five-month judging process, from an extensive number of strong candidates. The geographical reach of the nominated projects this year covers 103 countries such as US, China, India, Indonesia, UK, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and many others, indicating the growing significance of the Yidan Prize on the global stage. This year nominated projects cover eight new countries including Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Fiji, Greece, Bolivia, Djibouti, Senegal, Cook Islands, representing a rich tapestry of diverse cultures and geographies. Among the nominated projects this year are digital citizenship skills, access to digital learning, education equity, teacher education and education system improvement. These exciting topics reflect the growing importance of digital learning in the ‘new normal’ and the Yidan Prize Foundation’s determination to drive positive change.

Dr Koichiro Matsuura, Chairman of Yidan Prize Judging Committee and the former Director-General of UNESCO, commented, “This year, we are pleased to receive nominees and project submissions from different regions and topics, including research in improving education and education systems, education equity and quality, female education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. Education transcends borders, and we hope the nominees and laureates will continue their inspiring work to solve education challenges of different communities in an increasingly complex society.”

2020 Laureates

Professor Carl Wieman, Professor of Physics and Graduate School of Education and DRC Chair at Stanford University, Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2020 Photo credit: Andrew Brodhead_Stanford University

Professor Carl Wieman,Professor of Physics and Graduate School of Education and DRC Chair at Stanford University,was awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Research for his contribution in developing new techniques and tools in STEM education.The work of Professor Wieman prepares the next generation of students to be more scientifically literate as they tackle the problems of tomorrow. 

He established and directed the Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia, leading to widespread research-based improvement in university teaching, and transforming the way science is taught in major universities. To complement his foundational research on active learning, he has produced tools that help others in their research and teaching. This includes the PhET (Physics Education Technology) Interactive Simulation, a new pedagogical tool that provides researcher learners with access to 158 simulations across a variety of STEM topics at the undergraduate college level. With the prize funds, Professor Wieman aims to develop the thriving PhET Interactive Simulation for a larger global audience at all age levels. “

I am thrilled and honoured to have the work of my research group recognized in this way.  This prize will accelerate our efforts to improve education for students throughout the world,” said Professor Wieman.

Ms Lucy Lake, Chief Executive Officer, CAMFED, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020, Photo credit: (CAMFED)

Ms Angeline Murimirwa_ Executive Director , Africa, CAMFED, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020Photo credit: (CAMFED)

Ms Lucy Lake, Chief Executive Officer, CAMFED, and Ms Angeline Murimirwa, Executive Director – Africa,  CAMFED, were awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Development for their contribution to female education. Through its Learner Guide program, CAMFED provides a scalable and replicable approach to inclusive and equitable quality education for girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa to resolve high levels of girls’ school exclusion and drop-out, lack of relatable role models, and youth unemployment. The Learner Guide program simultaneously supports marginalized girls through education, while opening up opportunities for young women in the crucial transition from secondary school. With the prize money, the team will scale up CAMFED’s Learner Guides program with an initial commitment to train 20,000 Learner Guides, who will support 1 million adolescent girls in school in five sub-Saharan African countries, a major step towards CAMFED’s goal to support 5 million girls. “This Prize brings a spotlight to the power of our growing movement led by young women who are the experts on what it takes for the most marginalized girls to succeed. Together, we will launch our ambition to support five million girls in school, and it will be game-changing!” said Ms Lucy Lake.  Ms Angeline Murimirwa echoes the sentiment, “This is a dream come true especially at such a time as this! Together we are going to make more girls and young women’s dreams come true. We are going to make this world an even better place.”

The Yidan Prize Foundation was founded to transform the world by bringing people together to celebrate excellence in education and improve education systems for the future. Nominations for the 2021 Yidan Prize will open on 1 October 2020 and last until 31 March 2021. Apart from the Yidan Prize, the Foundation has been involved in various education initiatives to make the world a better place, including joining the UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition for COVID-19 response. The Foundation recently partnered with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to launch a research project to examine the impact of growth mindsets on educational outcomes and student well-being, and the impact of helping teachers to create a growth mindset culture in their classrooms. A teacher-targeted publication will be launched by early 2021.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of The Yidan Prize Foundation.

Note to editors:

Download images of laureates and judges here: https://bit.ly/3mH5sY1

Read the full citation for Professor Carl Wieman from Mr Andreas Schleicher, Head of the Judging Panel for the Yidan Prize for Education Research, Director for the OECD’s Directorate of Education and Skills.

Read the full citation for  Ms Lucy Lake and  Ms Angeline Murimirwa from Ms Dorothy K. Gordon, Head of the Judging Panel for the Yidan Prize for Education Development, Chair of UNESCO Information for All Programme.

About the Yidan Prize Foundation and Yidan Prize

Founded in 2016 by Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, a core founder of Tencent, the Yidan Prize Foundation has a mission of creating a better world through education. The Yidan Prize is an inclusive education award that recognizes individuals, or up to three-member teams, who have contributed significantly to education research and development.  It consists of two awards, the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development. Yidan Prize Laureates each receive a gold medal. In addition, a total of HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million) of prize funds is awarded to the individual or team (shared equally) from each category, half of which is cash prize while the other half is project funds. 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 (around US$323 million). Through a series of initiatives, the prize aims to establish a platform for the global community to engage in conversation around education and to play a role in education philanthropy.

In April 2020, the Yidan Prize Foundation joined UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition for COVID-19 response to support countries in scaling up their best distance learning practices and reaching children and youth who are most at risk.

Yidan Prize Foundation Website: https://yidanprize.org

For more information, please contact:

Lia Mundell

Tel: +27 71 745 7314

Email: Lia.Mundell@edelman.com

Cirū Karikū

Tel: +254 (0) 715 870 734



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