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Sir Fazle awarded largest international prize for education

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The Yidan Prize recognizes his groundbreaking work on education development


HONG KONG — 19 September 2019 — BRAC founder and Chair Emeritus Sir Fazle Hasan Abed has won the prestigious Yidan Prize, the largest international prize in education, for his groundbreaking work on education development. The Yidan Prize Foundation made the announcement in a statement on September 19, 2019.


From the beginning of his foray into development work, Sir Fazle has viewed education as a crucial catalyst for change. To date, more than 12 million children have graduated from BRAC’s pre-primary and primary schools. BRAC offers of an array of holistic and joyful learning solutions, including through its play-based, early childhood development centers; primary and secondary schools; adolescent learning programs; and its institute of higher learning, BRAC University.


“Knowledge attainment is an area that transcends racial, religious, economic, and national boundaries, affecting everything from human health and the environment to well-being and personal fulfillment,” said Dr. Charles Chen Yidan, founder of the Yidan Prize. “I hope every country and region can benefit from the results of the best research and education development work, helping to create a better world through education.”


Currently, BRAC runs a total of 656 Play Labs, its flagship early childhood development model, across Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Uganda, reaching around 11,500 children every day. The BRAC Institute of Educational Development (BIED) also developed the Humanitarian Play Lab (HPL) model to help refugee children learn and heal from trauma.


Thanking the Yidan Prize committee, Sir Fazle said, “Early childhood is a critical time to provide learning opportunities for children to ensure optimal development. BRAC is engaged in research on play-based learning for children from 3-5 years — including displaced children living in refugee camps and suffering from trauma, whose well-being and resilience can be enhanced through play. I hope the world’s leaders will realize the potential of this play-based education model to develop more socially and emotionally intelligent individuals who are able to live happier, conflict-free lives.”


As a Yidan Prize Laureate, Sir Fazle will be recognized during the Yidan Prize presentation ceremony in December and receive HKD 30 million (around USD 3.9 million), half of which is a cash prize and the other half a project fund.


“The very generous Yidan Prize funding will allow us to expand our education activities. We plan to use the funds for two purposes: to strengthen our existing basic education program, and to establish new Play Labs,” Sir Fazle added.


Originated in Hong Kong, the Prize, managed by the Yidan Prize Foundation and governed by an independent trust, consists of two awards: the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development. This year, the Yidan Prize for Education Research was awarded to Usha Goswami, a professor of cognitive developmental neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.




Notes to the Editor


About BRAC

BRAC is a global leader in developing and implementing cost-effective, evidence-based programs to assist the most marginalized people in extremely poor, conflict-prone, and post-disaster settings. These include initiatives in education, healthcare, microfinance, women and girls’ empowerment, agriculture, human and legal rights, and more. BRAC’s vision is a world free from all forms of exploitation and discrimination where everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential. Founded in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC acts as a catalyst, creating opportunities for people to transform their lives. BRAC employs about 100,000 people in 11 countries, with a total global expenditure of more than $1 billion. More than 75 percent of its budget in Bangladesh is self-financed through its social enterprises. Learn more at


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