February 11, 2014
Room to Read founder and board co-chair, John Wood has been nominated for the 2014 World’s Children’s Prize (WCP) alongside Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani education activist and Indira Ranamagar, activist for the rights of children of prisoners in Nepal. Since its launch in 2000, 35 million children have participated in selecting the recipient of the World’s Children’s Prize, the annual educational program for the rights of the child and democracy often called the Children’s Nobel Prize. The three nominees are selected by The World’s Children’s Prize International Child Jury, whose youth members from 15 countries are experts in the rights of the child through their own life experiences, as child soldiers, debt slaves and more.
This annual program culminates in a Global Vote, where millions of children around the world decide who should receive the World’s Children’s Prize among the nominated candidates through a democratic election process. Global Vote Days are held in schools all over the world, with all the tools needed for a democratic election – from returning officers to hand-made ballot boxes and polling booths. In past election years, up to 7.1 million children have cast votes.
“This is a victory for all of us who have worked so hard to build Room to Read’s scale and impact over the years,” says Wood. “My hope is that our global team of employees, volunteers, investors and Board members will stop to celebrate this honor, then take a deep breathe and go back to work as there are millions more children who need us to continue to think big about our ability to change the future through the lifelong gift of education.“
The majority of the children who have participated in the WCP program are disadvantaged and vulnerable children, who have learned for the first time that they have rights. This prize has given them faith in the future, and the courage to dare to demand respect for their rights. Five Nobel Prize Laureates are patrons of the World’s Children’s Prize, along with three global legends: Aung San Suu Kyi; Xanana Gusmão, freedom fighter and Prime Minister of East Timor; and Nelson Mandela. Other patrons include H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden and members of independent global leader group ‘The Elders’, Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu. Previous Laureates include Emani Davis, Liz Gaynes and Agnes Stevens from the USA.
The WCP program is supported by almost 60,000 schools with 29.3 million students in 109 countries, and by departments of education, media projects and over 600 organizations. Since its launch, over half a million teachers have been trained in child rights education. The principal funder of the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation is the Swedish Postcode Lottery. Other partners include ECPAT Sweden, Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), the Survé Family Foundation, Giving Wings, The Body Shop, eWork and Grupo Positivo.
All three nominees will be honored at the Award Ceremony at Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred, Sweden, in October 2014, where H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden will help the children present the awards including USD$100,000 in prize money which are allocated to each of the three nominees.
More information on the award and voting process is available at www.worldschildrensprize.org/media-room.