WISE Prize for Education Laureate honoured at Harvard University

Press release
Published May 17th, 2016 - 05:27 GMT
During the event
During the event

WISE Prize for Education Laureate Dr Sakena Yacoobi recently delivered a keynote address at a Harvard Graduate School of Education event which considered ‘Education in Vulnerable Regions’. In her speech, Dr Yacoobi called for more social investment in education as the only path to peace, prosperity and moderation in troubled regions.

The Askwith Forum, a series of public lectures, formed part of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Harvard Advanced Learning Initiative, ‘Deep Dive’. The programme facilitates the international discussion of education and gender equality issues, and, serving as a platform for cross cultural understanding, reflects the aspirations of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF).

Dr Yacoobi, a US citizen and Founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, was presented with the WISE Prize for Education at the summit in November 2015. For over twenty years she has worked to bring education as well as healthcare services to the most vulnerable under extreme conditions of war, displacement and oppression during Taliban rule in her native country.  In her speech, Dr Yacoobi spoke about her work in Afghanistan, including establishing a hospital and a high school.  She also discussed ‘The Afghan Institute of Learning’, which is under her current leadership, and plans for the creation of a university for women in Afghanistan.

Dr Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, also spoke at the event and discussed the issue within the context of international development efforts.  She emphasised the need for societies to hold governments responsible for ensuring that children receive a secondary education.  She pointed out that middle income countries have the greatest gender inequalities regarding access to education, and that these countries can well afford greater investments.

A panel discussion followed the speakers’ address and included members of the Harvard Advanced Learning Initiative faculty. The participants discussed the need to close gender inequalities, and ways to scale innovative solutions in various contexts around the world.  

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