DOHA, Qatar, November 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Please click on the following link to access the full version of the Digital Press Release:

Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Chair of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, has honoured six laureates at the WISE Awards ceremony which took place in Doha, Qatar last night. The WISE Awards recognise pioneering education-related practices from around the world tangible, duplicable and measurable. Also in attendance at the inaugural WISE Awards ceremony were Mrs Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Mrs Irina Bokova UNESCO Director General, Mrs Ruth Dreifuss Former President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr Gerhard Schroeder Former Chancellor of Germany, Fidel V. Ramos Former President of the Philippines and Biz Stone Co-founder of Twitter Inc.

Addressing the audience at the WISE Awards ceremony, Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE and Qatar Foundation's Vice-President of Education, said change takes place because individuals or teams of people have not only identified a problem, but have decided to do something about it. That's why we decided, in this inaugural year of WISE, to showcase and reward exceptional projects and initiatives that demonstrate a tangible impact on each of our three sub-themes.

In line with the global and inclusive outlook of WISE, the WISE Awards programme generated widespread international interest from diverse groups and individuals, with project submissions stemming from a variety of contrasting geographical locations. From a total of 588 entries, six projects originating from South and Latin America, North America, Africa, and Asia and Oceania were chosen for their exceptional impact within the fields of Pluralism, Sustainability and Innovation in education.

The winners were:

Pluralism Sustainability Innovation MEHTA Sheetal / India BURT Martin / Paraguay LEVY Peter / USA Project: Project Nanhi Project: The Project: Curriki Kali Self-Sufficient School COLBERT Vicky / DONGOTEY-PADI Joyce / MORAIS Delio / Columbia Ghana Brazil Project: Escuela Nueva Project: WANE - Widows Project: Distance Alliance Network for Learning in the Sustainable Economic Amazon Forest Development in Ghana

The WISE Awards embody the unique spirit of WISE, reflecting the initiative's multidisciplinary and universal ethos. While these winning projects have their origins in specific regions, they each possess the potential for inspiration and implementation on a wider scale. The winning projects serve traditionally overlooked and underprivileged populations. They involve whole communities and create new partnerships. They spread the effects of innovative educational practice efficiently, widely, sustainably and equitably. They can be replicated and their positive effects can be easily measured.

Sustainability laureate Joyce Dongotey-Padi from Ghana, shared: the WISE Awards allowed project WANE - Widows Alliance Network for Sustainable Economic Development to gain international recognition and establish itself as a legitimate local actor. The experience has given us the opportunity to develop further initiatives.

The WISE Awards winners were chosen by a renowned international jury following a rigorous process of adjudication. The two-tier selection firstly involved the short-listing of 48 projects by a 15-member committee of multidisciplinary experts which were subsequently reviewed by an International Jury consisting of 11 of the world's leading experts in pluralism, sustainability and innovation.

The WISE Awards will act as an annual platform to showcase concepts that have successfully made the transition to concrete, workable and effective practices.

The six WISE Awards winners each received a prize of $20,000 to support their respective educational initiatives, as well as a unique hand-made trophy modeled on original artwork by Celine Tilliet.


WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) is a global, groundbreaking collaborative initiative established by Qatar Foundation under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned. WISE seeks to monitor and contribute to 21st century challenges and their impact on education. With 1,000 leading education stakeholders, opinion leaders and decision-makers from 120 countries and from the spheres of education, politics, international institutions, NGOs, grassroots movements, the private sector, media and multimedia, culture and the arts. WISE endeavours to propose visionary thinking on education, offer new ways of addressing current global challenges and untapped opportunities and anticipate future education models. The WISE Forum will take place in Doha, Qatar, from November 16th to 18th, 2009. Sponsors of the Summit are Exxon Mobile, Qatar Petroleum and Microsoft Corporation.

Full details on the WISE website:


Founded in 1995 by decree of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, Qatar Foundation is a non-profit organization focusing on education, scientific research and community development. Under Qatar Foundation's umbrella are Education City, which comprises elite universities, several academic and training programs and Qatar Science and Technology Park, which boasts more than twenty-one world-class companies involved in scientific research and development.

Chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, Qatar Foundation also aims to enhance lives through community development initiatives including Doha Debates, Reach out To Asia and Al Jazeera Children's Channel.

Joint venture partnerships in the areas of design, ICT, telecommunications, policy studies and event management contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the Qatar Foundation. For more information, please visit:

Source: World Innovation Summit of Education - WISE

WISE Awards 2009: Winning Profiles

Pluralism Cateegory

MEHTA Sheetal / India

Project: Project Nanhi Kali

Project Nanhi Kali was launched by KCMET in 1996 with the objective of providing education to underprivileged young girls in India. Since 2005 Nanhi Kali has been jointly managed with the reputable NGO, Naandi Foundation, to ensure that the girls' needs for education are met for a continuous ten years. It is now reaching out to 52,000 girls (from 1,700 in 2002) in urban, rural and remote tribal areas across eight states of India.

Project Nanhi has increased enrolment and attendance of girls in schools, reduced dropout rates and improved learning levels. Its goal is to provide education to 100,000 underprivileged girls by the end of 2009.

Main assets:

This fantastic project has been clearly-designed to reach a population in under-served areas. The interesting and unusual combination of funders and NGOs combined with volunteers at grassroots level has created a very strong and sustainable partnership.

COLBERT Vicky / Columbia

Project: Escuela Nueva

Escuela Nueva provides a cost-effective, replicable and scalable solution to improving the quality of basic education in low income-schools. Through its collaborative learning approach, it transforms the traditional classroom and promotes entrepreneurial skills learning to learn, lead processes, teamwork and decision-making. It was initiated in 1975 in rural Colombia in response to endemic educational problems such as high dropout rates, weak school-community relationships, ineffective teacher training and the lack of children's learning materials.

Main assets:

This is a well-executed straightforward idea which delivers all of the WISE Awards criteria. It is proven to be a consistent model which has been successfully copied throughout the world.

Sustainability Category

BURT Martin / Paraguay

Project: The Self-Sufficient School

The Self-Sufficient School, launched in 2003, is a model of technical/vocational education that provides high quality, affordable education to chronically poor young people without relying on third-party support. The school transforms young farmers into financially successful rural entrepreneurs by integrating the teaching of traditional high-school subjects with the running of 17 small-scale, on-campus rural enterprises.

By helping to run these enterprises, students gain technical and entrepreneurial skills. At the same time, these enterprises generate enough income to cover 100% of the school's operating costs. Over 20 institutions in Latin America and Africa have adopted the model or are preparing to do so.

Main assets:

The Self-Sufficient School has huge potential and is highly replicable involving partners from all localities. Its entrepreneurial manner of funding and sustaining schools must be commended.


Project: WANE - Widows Alliance Network for Sustainable Economic Development in Ghana

The Widows Alliance Network project, launched in 2007, aims to emancipate Ghanaian widows from the social, cultural and economic deprivation brought about by the prejudices they face because of their status. The project was introduced to equip widows in Ghana with the prerequisite employable skills, human rights education, reproductive health and social integration programmes. Through WANE, 216 widow groupings have been formed in Ghana with 6,000 members. As a result, widow status, economic empowerment and rights have now improved in communities and towns throughout Ghana. Widows now act as agents of environmental, sexual and reproductive health progress in their communities.

Main assets:

This is an inspirational, unique, non-profit funding project which provides much needed seed money, training, support and business assistance to widows. It can be replicated in other regions and also on other subject matters such as the empowerment of populations in emergency situations.

Innovation Category

LEVY Peter / USA

Project: Curriki

The Curriki website is a platform that provides users with the tools and services necessary to develop, aggregate, evaluate and support Open Educational Resources. With a community of nearly 90,000 registered members around the world, it is a collaborative workspace that offers educators the opportunity to work together, to individualise instruction and create and customize high-quality instructional materials, all at no charge. Curriki is challenging the traditional publishing paradigm and changing the way educators teach and the way students learn.

Main assets:

Curriki is a compelling global story which provides open access to the globalisation of teaching content done in an accessible way. It has unlimited potential as the project is based on Web 2.0 technologies and encompasses a growing amount of content.

MORAIS Delio / Brazil

Project: Distance Learning in the Amazon Forest

The Distance Learning in the Amazon Forest project was launched in 2007 by the Secretariat of Education and Learning Quality of Amazonas State. The project involves transmitting live classes via a two-way videoconference link to 25,000 students in 300 secondary schools and 700 classrooms, throughout the 62 county districts. A teacher is also located in each classroom to support local activities. Amazonas is the largest state in Brazil and many small towns and villages are only accessible by boat. As a result of this initiative, Amazonas State has greatly increased the breadth of education, allowing effective, low-cost, large-scale and constant provision of high-quality secondary-level courses. The project is highly flexible and can be used for education projects at any level.

Main assets:

This project increases rural children's competitiveness and raises their awareness on the advantages of a globalized world. With limitless potential and possibility to be applied at any educational level, it can be easily disseminated in regions where connectivity will remain a challenge.

WISE Awards 2009 International Jury

Chairman: Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE and Vice President of Education, Qatar Foundation.

Vice-Chairman: Dr. Ahmad Hasnah, Vice-Chairman of WISE and Associate Vice-President of Higher Education, Qatar Foundation

Pluralism: - Susan J. Bodilly: Director of RAND Education (Research And Development Corporation) - Nicholas Burnett: Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO. - E. Gordon Gee: President of Ohio State University Sustainability: - Christian Bode: Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) - Patrick M. Callan: President of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education - Amy Gutmann: President of the University of Pennsylvania Innovation: - Mike Gibbons: CEO of the Richard Rose Federation - Anoop Gupta: Corporate Vice-President, Technology Policy and Strategy at Microsoft Corporation - Zhou Qifeng: President of Beijing University

For further information, please contact : Emilie Demange / Constance Lozet Tel: +33(0)1-47-42-19-54 /+33(0)1-47-42-92-78 Email :

SOURCE: World Innovation Summit for Education - WISE

CONTACT: For further information, please contact : Emilie Demange /Constance Lozet, Tel: +33(0)1-47-42-19-54 /+33(0)1-47-42-92-78, Email