LAHORE  - The 2013 WISE Prize, the first distinction of its kind to recognize an individual or a team for an outstanding contribution in 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.

The Prize was presented by 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.

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.”

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.