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The Yidan Prize Foundation announces three laureates Professor Carl Wieman, Lucy Lake and Angeline Murimirwa were awarded for their contribution to STEM and women's education
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 29 - 09 - 2020

The Yidan Prize Foundation, a global philanthropic educational foundation inspiring future progress and change in education, Tuesday 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 Dec. 7.
"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."
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 honored 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, 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 dropout, 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 Oct. 1, 2020 and last until March 31, 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 Organization for Economic Cooperation 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. — AMA

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