At the Nobel Teacher Summit 2017 you will meet:
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2003
“What is important is that one utilizes one’s intellect and not to be 100 percent sure about one’s convictions. One should always leave room for doubt.” (Nobel Women’s Initiative)
Lawyer Shirin Ebadi was Iran’s first female judge and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2003 for her efforts on behalf of democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children. After losing her job following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, she opened a legal practice and began defending victims of official persecution. In 2000 she was imprisoned for criticizing the country’s hierocracy. Ebadi took up the struggle for fundamental human rights and participated in the establishment of organizations that placed these issues on the agenda. She has also written books calling for greater legal protection for Iranian children.
Herta Müller, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2009
“Literature… [can] use language to invent a truth that shows what happens in us and around us when values become derailed.”
Herta Müller has personal experience of oppression and exile, two themes that she explores in her writing and teaching. Her family belonged to Romania’s German-speaking minority, whose vulnerable position during the communist regime came to colour her life and literary works. At university, Müller opposed the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu and joined Aktionsgruppe Banat, a group of dissident writers who sought freedom of speech. She was working as a teacher when her uncensored manuscript of Niederungen was smuggled to the west and published by the Rotbuch Verlag to instant critical acclaim. Müller describes life under Ceaușescu’s regime ¬– how dictatorship breeds a fear and alienation that stays in an individual’s mind. Innovatively and with linguistic precision, she evokes images from the past. Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2009 because she, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.
Bernard Feringa, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2016
“Let universities be playgrounds for the youth.”
Bernard Feringa is passionate about teaching and believes students need to be at the forefront of science and knowledge while exploring their creativity and future opportunities.
In 2016, Feringa was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the design and synthesis of molecular machines. In 1999 he constructed a molecular motor by making a molecular rotor blade spin continuously in the same direction. In the future, molecular machines could be used for new materials, sensors and energy storage systems.
Inger Eriksson, Professor of Education at Stockholm University
Inger Eriksson’s research focuses on taking an experimental approach to her teaching and having the courage to test new methods. The goal is to lay a better foundation for all teachers to increase knowledge-building among their students.
Ola Rosling, Co-founder of the Gapminder Foundation
“An educated general public is society’s most important vaccine against the worst form of populism.” (Expressen)
Ola Rosling shows how teachers can use facts and data to enable schools to combat ignorance, alarmism and populism, continuing the educational legacy of his father, Hans Rosling. Gapminder’s tools and teaching aids are used for free in classrooms across Sweden. Juxtaposing a socioeconomic world poster alongside a traditional map changes what we learn. For example, Americans would realize that Mexico is just 25 years behind the US in social development and is a future trading partner that should be treated with respect. Only when the public understand the world will we have reached the so-called knowledge society.
Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Professor of Environmental Science at Stockholm University
“We are the generation with the responsibility and the opportunity to find solutions. This is the moment at which we need to swing over to a completely new logic.” (SvD)
Johan Rockström makes the science of sustainable development understandable by highlighting current dangers and future opportunities. He leads the Stockholm Resilience Centre, focusing on a solution-oriented approach to sustainability: the capacity to use change and crisis to spur renewal and innovative thinking. In 2009, working with an international team of scientists, he identified and quantified a set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come, while crossing them threatens to generate abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Since then, boundaries research has spread among international organizations, governments, NGOs and companies and has been adopted as a new scientific framework to guide the discussion about “sustainable growth”.
Anna Ekström, Swedish Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education and Training
“All school students should, regardless of background, learn as much as possible and develop as active members of society. Education should be an opportunity that is open to all throughout life. This is how we create the conditions for lifelong learning. I believe in schools built on equality and focused on knowledge and education.” (regeringen.se)
Before becoming a Government Minister, Anna Ekström was Director-general of the Swedish National Agency for Education. In 2015 she headed a schools’ commission that published recommendations for higher attainment levels and improved teaching quality and equality in schools. During her time at the National Agency for Education, Ekström worked to promote a more research-driven approach to schooling.
Lars Heikensten, Doctor of Economics and Executive Director Nobel Foundation
“The global challenges we face today make it even more important to utilize the ability of the Nobel Prize to inspire people to seek knowledge, ask questions, gain understanding and improve the world.” (The Nobel Foundation 2015 Annual Review)
Lars Heikensten is a Doctor of Economics and Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation since 2010. His previous positions include Governor of the Swedish Central Bank and Sweden’s nominee on the European Court of Auditors. He is one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Nobel Center in Stockholm as a place that inspires curiosity and creativity and encourages education and learning.
Photo credit: Alexander Mahmoud (Bernard L. Feringa), Joel Saget/AFP Photo (Shirin Ebadi), Stephanie von Becker (Herta Müller). Axelsson/Azote (Johan Rockström), Kristian Pohl/Regeringskansliet (Anna Ekström), Stefan Tell (Lars Heikensten)