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2022 Yidan Prize – world’s highest accolade in education – awarded to Dr Linda Darling-Hammond and Professor Yongxin Zhu

The two prizes are designed for impact: laureates receive a gold medal and HK$30 million (shared equally for teams), half of which is a project fund of HK$15 million to help them scale up their work

The Yidan Prize Foundation has awarded Dr Linda Darling-Hammond and Professor
Yongxin Zhu the 2022 Yidan Prize, the world’s highest education accolade. The
award recognizes their innovative work in empowering educators, and promoting
inclusive and equitable access to education, ensuring every learner can reach
their full potential.

Founded in 2016, the Yidan Prize Foundation has a mission to create a better
world through education. Following a rigorous independent judging process, Dr
Linda Darling-Hammond and Professor Yongxin Zhu receive the 2022 Yidan Prize
for Education Research and the 2022 Yidan Prize for Education Development,

“We offer our warmest congratulations to our 2022 Yidan Prize laureates, Dr
Linda Darling-Hammond and Professor Yongxin Zhu. They both play an important
role in empowering our teachers and youth with the skills needed to thrive in
the 21st century. Their work clearly shows the transformative impact that
teachers can have on learners. And when students have great teachers, they have
great opportunities,” said Mr Edward Ma, Secretary-General of the Yidan Prize

Recognizing excellence to spark real, scalable change in education

Dr Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus,
Stanford University, and President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute, is
awarded the 2022 Yidan Prize for Education Research for her work in shaping
education policy and practice around the most equitable and effective ways to
teach and learn. Her research reveals the diverse ways children learn and how
best to teach them—and feeds those insights into robust educator development
programs and transformed schools that holistically support teachers to change
children’s lives.

“With an unwavering drive to see every learner reach their full potential,
regardless of social background, gender and geography, Linda has spent her life
building research tools that support policy and practice to create better and
fairer educational opportunities. Her influence on public policy has helped
policy architects shape positive changes for children on a large scale,” said
Mr Andreas Schleicher, head of the Yidan Prize for Education Research judging
panel, and director for the OECD’s Directorate of Education and Skills.

With the Yidan Prize funds, Linda will scale up her critical work at Educator
Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab): a network focused on supporting
student-centered, equity-focused teacher preparation programs, which are
grounded in the science of learning and development and prepare teachers to
help all students learn in empowering ways. She will expand the reach of
EdPrepLab, adding new programs, investing in new research about effective
programs, and creating a space where educators, researchers and policymakers
can easily share and learn from each other.

Professor Yongxin Zhu, Founder of New Education Initiative (NEI) and Professor,
school of Education, Soochow University, is awarded the 2022 Yidan Prize for
Education Development for his work in improving teaching quality and
transforming learning outcomes in China. His NEI programs support the
well-being and development of teachers, reaching over 8,300 schools, over
500,000 teachers and 8 million students across China—more than half of which
are in rural and remote areas. By bringing a learner’s whole community
together, NEI transforms home environments into positive learning spaces and
fosters a collaborative approach to learning. Teachers, students and families
work together towards clear learning goals, deepening education outcomes beyond
a focus on teaching-to-test and exams.

“Professor Zhu is successfully addressing some of the most intractable
challenges in education: improving equity and inclusiveness. His work
encourages an appreciation of the value of learning for personal growth by
improving reading, writing and communication. He has succeeded in gradually
changing how teachers approach professional development and how students learn
in classrooms and at home. Perhaps most importantly, he reminds us of the
importance of joy and well-being for every learner,” said Dorothy K. Gordon,
head of Yidan Prize for Education Development judging panel, and Board Member
of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education.

Professor Yongxin Zhu plans to use the Yidan Prize funds to expand NEI’s reach
in remote, rural areas in China and develop a cloud-based learning hub,
improving education quality and providing inclusive and equitable access to
education for all learners.

“The Yidan Prize champions the most innovative ideas in education and helps
scale them so as many people as possible can benefit. Our laureates are
therefore crucial to our aim of transforming education worldwide—and through
that, unlocking a brighter future for all learners,” said Dr Koichiro Matsuura,
Chairman of the Yidan Prize Judging Committee and the former Director-General

Yidan Prize Foundation is championing changemakers in education

The Yidan Prize honors individuals or teams that have significantly contributed
to the theory and practice of education. Each laureate will be awarded HK$30
million (approximately US$3.9 million,shared equally for teams), half of which
will serve as a project fund to help them scale their education projects and
support more learners globally.

The 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate, Professor Eric A.
Hanushek, is using the Prize funds to set up the Yidan African Fellows Program,
a network of local policy fellows with an aim to improve education
decision-making across sub-Saharan Africa. In India, 2021 Yidan Prize for
Education Development Laureate Dr Rukmini Banerji is working with Pratham to
develop, test and refine early years programs and expand collaboration with
local governments. These programs are expected to benefit 35,000 children
across 650 communities.

2023 Yidan Prize nominations open in October

The Yidan Prize continues to welcome nominations to honor changemakers in
education, who are positively impacting learners across the globe with
transformative, scalable, and sustainable learning solutions.


The Yidan Prize Foundation is a global philanthropic foundation, with a mission
of creating a better world through education. Through its prize and network of
innovators, the Yidan Prize Foundation supports ideas and practices in
education—specifically, ones with the power to positively change lives and

The Yidan Prize is an inclusive education accolade that recognizes individuals
or teams who have contributed significantly to the theory and practice of

SOURCE Yidan Prize Foundation