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Leonardo European Corporate Learning Awards 2012

The Leonardo European Corporate Learning Award honours brave learning initiatives by distinguished pioneers in education. The Leonardo Award is about the recognition of people who have been thinking and working with concentrated passion for learning, either in companies, organizations or in society in general, and who have initiated and implemented “Beacon-Projects” – projects that are of great significance and influence for others acting in connected fields in Europe.

The initiators of the award have set the goal of promoting courageous and innovative educational initiatives. They recognize Leonardo da Vinci’s work as an excellent example of how diverse schools of art and science can be integrated to foster knowledge, empathy, passion and innovation, unified by Leonardo’s holistic spirit. The awards that bear his name emphasize the unique components of each of the award-winning education innovations as modern exemplars of this spirit.

In 2012 the Leonardo Award will be presented for the first time in three categories:

· “Thought Leadership”: Inspiring potential imitators;

· “Company Transformation”: A holistic approach to company learning;

· “Crossing Borders”: Challenging established ways of thinking

This year, the awards will go to:

· Company Transformation: The owners of the automation company Festo, Dr. Wilfried Stoll and Dr. h.c. Kurt Stoll, will receive the Leonardo Award in this category.
The award pays
tribute to the brothers’ overall work in the area of education, ranging from Festo Didactic and Bionic Learning Network to their responsible dedication to education and further education around the world. It recognizes the Stoll brothers’ overall achievements in responsibly transforming all areas of the company, involving business partners and policy makers from the social environment in the process. According to the Advisory Board, “they achieved this with the concept of ‘Corporate Educational Responsibility’ – in an interplay of economic reasoning, excellence in engineering, and visionary innovation. The Festo Didactic facility, developed by them and explicitly focused on learning, develops training means for vocational education in Germany in cooperation with the Federal Institute for Vocational Education.

· Thought Leadership: Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Bullinger, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Professor Bullinger has initiated many beacon projects that have played a part in creating a more productive and competitive economy. Examples of this are his research activities or the introduction of new technologies for corporate learning and knowledge management – for example 3D applications or applications for mobile learning. According to the Advisory Board, “he untiringly advocates the combination of technical novelties in the art of engineering with social developments. Advisory Board Secretary Günther Szogs believes that “Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Bullinger is someone who helps shape the future in perfect Leonardo style, as is currently shown by the Fraunhofer initiative ‘Morning City – The vision of a liveable, CO2-neutral city’.”

· Crossing Borders: Sugata Mitra, Professor for Educational Technology at Newcastle University in Great Britain and currently visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab.

Professor Mitra is particularly well-known for his “Hole in the Wall” experiment where he installed a computer with internet access in a wall in a New Delhi slum in 1999. This experiment, which he later repeated at other locations around the world, was able to prove the great extent to which children can learn and develop social behaviour by themselves – even without teachers. According to the Leonardo Board: “With his revolutionary view of children’s creativity Sugata Mitra has also become involved in the issue of increasing educational opportunities in remote locations where schools and teachers are in scarce supply … Mitra has inspired education experts around the world to re-think learning methods and to develop a new learning design for talent management in school education as well as corporate learning.“

Previous Leonardo Award winners are Prof. Dr. Jacques Delors (2010), former President of the European Commission and Chairman of the international UNESCO Commission on Education; and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (2011).

The Award Ceremony will take place on September 24th in Bergisch Gladbach (near Cologne, Germany). This will be followed on September 25th by an Executive Forum in which Professor Mitra and other international experts will address issues around the future of learning, social networks in society, and strategies and challenges for creating breakthroughs in changing behaviour.

More information is available at: