2013 WISE Prize for Education Awarded to Ms. Vicky Colbert

Doha, Qatar, 29 October 2013 / PRNewswire – The 2013 WISE Prize for Education, the first distinction of its kind to recognize an individual or a team for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education, has been awarded to Ms. Vicky Colbert of Colombia. Founder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, Ms. Colbert is co-creator of the Escuela Nueva education model, widely known for its effectiveness in improving the quality and relevance of basic education in underprivileged schools across Colombia and beyond.

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The Prize was presented by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, at the Opening Plenary Session of the fifth World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar, before more than 1,000 experts from diverse fields and over 100 countries.

The WISE Prize for Education was established in 2011 to enhance the status of education by giving it similar prestige to other areas for which international prizes already exist, such as literature, peace and economics.  The Laureate receives an award of $500,000 (US) and a specially minted gold medal.

Initiated in 1975 in rural Colombia, the Escuela Nueva model began as a bottom-up approach by bringing together a team of experienced rural teachers to transform education at the highest level.  Leading this approach, Ms. Colbert created important links between communities, families, teachers, research institutions and policy makers.  This unique pedagogical model became a national policy in Colombia in the 1980s and was replicated in various regions around the country.  It has since been adapted by a number of countries around the world and recognized as one of the most successful public policy reforms among developing countries by organizations including the World Bank and the United Nations.

In congratulating the 2013 WISE Prize for Education Laureate, H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Ph.D., Chairman of WISE, said: “Vicky Colbert has dedicated her life to revitalizing education through effective and relevant student-centered pedagogical methods that involve families and entire communities as well as teachers in the process. Her work has had a significant impact in Latin America and beyond, greatly expanding access to affordable quality education for the less-privileged.”

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.”

Despite the political conflict that has plagued the country for several decades, Ms. Colbert has worked tirelessly as a quiet revolutionary to develop real opportunity through education. To date, Escuela Nueva has been implemented throughout Latin America – including Brazil and Mexico – in the Caribbean, East Timor and Vietnam reaching more than five million children around the globe.


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