Afghan Institute of Learning wins Prize

Dr Sakena Yacoobi, Founder and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), has been named the 2015 WISE Prize for Education Laureate.

Popularly known as Afghanistan’s mother of education, Dr Yacoobi, 65, has spent two decades working persistently to rebuild her country’s education landscape, devastated by war.

The WISE Prize for Education was presented by Shaikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), at the Opening Plenary session of the seventh World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar.

The Summit is a global initiative of QF, and the award was received before some 2,000 members of the WISE community from diverse fields and over 150 countries, QF said in a statement.

First awarded in 2011, the WISE Prize for Education recognises an individual or a team for outstanding achievement in any field of education. The WISE Prize for Education raises global awareness of the crucial role of education in all societies, and is a testament to QF’s commitment to building the future of education by unlocking human potential.

“Our WISE Prize for Education Laureates embody the spirit of WISE,” Shaikha Moza said. “They are tireless advocates for the right to education. This year’s Laureate is distinguished by her determination to bring education to her fellow citizens in the most adverse conditions of war and occupation. From refugee camps to secret night schools, and often at great personal risk, she established a network of organisations that provide general education as well as public health education. While her work focuses on girls and women, it also benefits boys and men. Millions have benefited from her optimism,” she said.

For Sakena, it all began in the early 1990s, when she started working in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan.