On 15 December, Moscow hosted a meeting of the Rybakov Prize 2020 Selection Committee. The international Rybakov Prize with a prize fund of $1.2 million is awarded to entrepreneurs, philanthropists and impact investors in education. The Rybakov Prize Selection Committee met to discuss the shortlist of nominees which will be compiled after a close review of each application and announced on the Rybakov Prize website on 16 January 2020.
The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) is a partner of this award, which was established in 2019 by Igor and Ekaterina Rybakov, co-founders of the private philanthropic organization Rybakov Foundation. The mission of the award is to build a tradition of contributing to the development of society and supporting the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure quality education for all. The award is designed to present new role models of prominent individuals committed to redesigning preschool and school education.
This year, 460 education leaders from more than 40 countries applied for Rybakov Prize 2020. A pitch session at the Forbes Under 30 Europe Summit for young entrepreneurs held on 1-2 December 2019 in Berlin served as a step in the shortlist selection for the award.
The Rybakov Prize Selection Committee includes representatives of the academia, schools, charitable foundations, education projects, mass media, and business. Tigran Yepoyan, Chief of Unit of ICT in Health Education, UNESCO IITE, participated in the Selection Committee.
In her welcoming address to the meeting, Ekaterina Rybakova, co-founder and president of the Rybakov Foundation and co-founder of Rybakov Prize, explained how the idea of supporting education came about:
“No matter how much you invest in your children’s education, these efforts will be wasted unless the broader environment changes. Our common future depends on whether or not we are capable of providing an inclusive, high-quality and fair education. Once we realized this, we also became aware of the powerful resource available to us which we can use not only to meet the needs of our own family and business but also to change the world for the better. Now this awareness nourishes us, giving us strength and hope. We want to live in a society of empowered people. We believe in our children, we believe in all children, in their talents and abilities. And we also believe in ourselves, in our ability to share something of value and importance with our children, something which will empower their autonomy, self-actualization and happiness, something that will stay with them forever.”
Igor Rybakov, co-founder of the Rybakov Foundation and Rybakov Prize, further commented on the meaning and purpose of the award:
“We are deeply thankful to our parents and teachers, to our society and country, to everyone who has helped us cultivate our core values of doing good, working hard and being optimistic. We are grateful to all those who empowered us to become who we are and to realize our potential. And the way we want to thank them is by doing the right thing. We choose to act effectively and change education in a way that promotes wellbeing and dignity in society. We choose to act on a large scale to involve as many people as possible and to encourage their cohesion. Our objective is to support and strengthen the leaders who are capable of creating and implementing socially beneficial projects which involve the school community. By fostering the leaders of change we are creating new growth points, new concentrations of resources and ideas. We invest in helping active and competent people to come forward. Our goal is to create a shared prosperous future, a society of creativity, collaboration and co-creation.”
Each Rybakov Prize application was reviewed and rated by three Selection Committee members. Once a shortlist is formed, three winners will be selected by the jury which includes philanthropists, business people and social activists from around the world: Steven Duggan, Member of the Governing Board of the UNESCO IITE; Randall Lane (Forbes USA), Harry Patrinos (World Bank Education), Vikas Pota (Varkey Foundation), Osama Obeidat (Queen Rania Teacher Academy), Safeena Husain (Educate Girls), Tatyana Bakalchuk (Wildberries), Magomed Musaev (Global Venture Alliance), Sergey Solonin (QIWI Group).
The award ceremony will be held in Moscow on 2 February 2020 (02.02.2020). Of the $1.2 million Rybakov Prize fund, two winners will receive $100,000 each, and the Grand Prix winner will receive $1 million to be used for creating an endowment fund for a school or other educational institution working to advance the Grand Prix winner’s mission; out of that amount, the winner can spend $100,000 at his or her own discretion.
Besides UNESCO IITE, the World Bank is the award’s partner, Forbes is its information partner, and PwC serves as its independent auditor.