The “future of learning” in times of ignorance 2016/06/09 - Leonardo Awardees 2016

Dr. Otto Scharmer

For the past seven years, the Leonardo Award has stood for the “future of learning”. The European education prize awards provocative realists, courageous pioneers and energetic pragmatists who have explored new paths in the field of education: Dr. C. Otto Scharmer with his management method "Theory U”, Dr. Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund with their worldwide battle against prejudices, and Vincent Zimmer as well as Markus Kressler with their online university for refugees. The award ceremony will take place on 19 September 2016 at the Kameha Grand Hotel Bonn.

The award in the category of Thought Leadership will go to Dr. C. Otto Scharmer. The MIT professor and founder of the Presencing Institute in Cambridge will be awarded for his “Theory U”. With this “social technology of freedom” he describes how, with the help of presence and sensing, you can lead from the future as it emerges. It is thus that he already brought together key players in the leadership program at the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Dr. Hans Rosling

In the category of Crossing Borders the award will go to Dr. Hans Rosling, professor for international health at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, his son Ola Rosling and his daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund. Together, they are founders of Gapminder Institutet in Sweden. With its provocative statistics and visually enhanced comparisons, it provides a striking plea against prejudice around the world. The three Swedes impressively show how blind ignorance can be combated with a scientific approach. This makes them a beacon in a civil society, which has achieved an exemplary welcome culture through its level of education.


The Young Leonardo Award will be presented for the second time, and this year’s winners are the founders of Kiron University: Vincent Zimmer and Markus Kressler. Kiron is now probably the largest online university that provides refugees with further education around the world through online and offline courses. With partner universities including Stanford, the Hasso-Plattner-Institute or RWTH Aachen, the refugees can acquire a recognised degree – giving them not only better chances on the labour market, but also a positive perspective on life.

A success-story: From Jacques Delors to Jimmy Wales

Since 2010 the Leonardo Award has been bestowed upon personalities committed to lifelong learning in the 21st century. This enables them to fill the European spirit with life, which Professor Jaques Delors, the architect of Europe, captured in his UNESCO pillar model: Learning to learn. Learning to acquire knowledge. Learning to live together. Learning to act. Learning to be.

The late Hans Dietrich Genscher held an equally brilliant as well as timeless eulogy for the first Leonardo award winner, Professor Jacques Delors: “Delor’s education report as obligatory reading for all those responsible in state, economics and society – that would actually be a wonderful commonality and a great task for the overall society.“

Further highlights were provides by the likes of Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), with a new point of view on the authorship of knowledge, or the brothers Kurt Stoll and Wilfried Stoll (FESTO), with the revolutionary transformations that have taken place in learning in companies.

Cooperation with UNESCO – education as a tool against youth unemployment

For the first time, the Leonardo Award is cooperating with the UN institution responsible for vocational and technical learning, the UNESCO UNEVOC, represented by its Director, Dr. Shyamal Majumdar. Similarly to the Leonardo, UNEVOC also sees the need to link professional and social learning closely to the challenges of youth unemployment, international cooperation and "Green Economy Learning".

The award winners have realized that this will be possible only through a transformation of society as a whole: away from the toxic and destructive maxims of “faster, higher, further”, away from increased consumption, and with more cooperation instead of competition, towards responsible, sustainable behaviour – as was determined by all member stated of the United Nations in September 2015 in their “Global Goals”, the goals for worldwide economic, ecological and social development.

Gathering of experts in the areas of knowledge and education

The award ceremony and the preceding Leonardo Transfer Meeting, the think tank for corporate learning, will take place on September 19, 2016 in Bonn in the Kameha Grand Hotel. This is where the award winners will have ample opportunity not only to present their projects, but also to work together with stakeholders from education, the economy and society on the design possibilities for a meaningful “future of learning”. In many aspects ranging from schooling to the economy and society, education is fundamental for a sustainable world, which is open to all nationalities and nations.

Contact to register for the award ceremony:
Sandra Schall
HRM Research Institute GmbH
Rheinkaistraße 2
68159 Mannheim
Tel: +49 621 40 166-335