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Global Quest Underway to Identify Education Visionary

Nominations open for the 2012 WISE Prize for Education

Sydney, February 22, 2012. The search has begun for an individual – or group – to become the next Laureate of the WISE Prize for Education. This is the first global prize to recognize world-class contributors to education at a similar level to other major prizes for science, literature, peace or economics.

The WISE Prize for Education, now in its second year, pays tribute to those in any sector whose achievements have had a significant and lasting impact upon education at any level and demonstrate an inspiring and visionary approach.

The Laureate receives $500,000 (US) and a gold medal.

Commenting on the search for the 2012 WISE Prize Laureate, WISE Chairman Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, said: “This year again, I hope that the nominations will cover the entire scope of what education can bring to the world, from an outstanding contributor to academic research to an on-the-ground practitioner whose work has benefited many. The perfect profile may also be someone who has shone the light of education in adverse circumstances, or who has uncovered and nurtured talent which had lain unnoticed and neglected.”

His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, awarded the inaugural WISE Prize for Education to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairman of BRAC, at the 2011 WISE Summit in Doha, Qatar.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed has spent over 40 years developing the Bangladesh-based BRAC into a broad initiative dedicated to assisting the neediest to gain skills and empowerment through education. BRAC has contributed directly to the education of more than 10 million young people from pre-primary through to secondary levels. BRAC is now active in nine other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the world, providing a wide range of education programs which have benefited nearly 140 million individuals.

Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Columbia University, USA, was a member of the Jury in 2011. He commented: “In Sir Fazle Hasan Abed we found a truly exemplary Laureate for the inaugural WISE Prize. Whoever the 2012 Laureate proves to be, the next WISE Prize will take one step further in raising global awareness of the importance and potential of innovation in education.”

WISE is inviting nominations from individuals and institutions with a demonstrable commitment to education, such as universities, schools, colleges, teachers’ organizations, research facilities, international organizations, governments, private corporations and the media. A high-level Committee will make a pre-selection of the nominations received from around the world, and an international Jury of distinguished individuals will make the final choice of the Laureate whose name will be announced at the 4th WISE Summit to be held November 13-15, 2012, in Doha, Qatar.

Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani added: “Our selection process is highly rigorous to ensure that the individual or group we identify embodies the highest degree of excellence. We received several hundred nominations last year and look forward to an even stronger response in 2012.”

The closing date for nominations is March 31, 2012. The nomination process is strictly confidential. To nominate a candidate for the Prize or for further information about WISE and the WISE Prize, please visit: or

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About the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE):

WISE is dedicated to building the future of education through innovation. This global collaborative initiative was inaugurated in 2009 by Qatar Foundation, under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. Its mission is to address the challenges facing 21st-century education, to expand dialogue around the world and to implement practical and sustainable solutions. To this end, WISE holds an annual international Summit that provides a unique platform and meeting place for thought leaders and experts to share best practices about education. WISE is also a year-round initiative devoted to reaching outside the traditional circles of the education community to promote innovation and implement concrete actions. The WISE 2012 Summit will take place in Doha, Qatar, 13-15 November 2012. Full details on the WISE website:

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