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Shiza Shahid, CEO of Malala Fund, Wins Education Prize

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Sylvia Paull, 510-388-8932 whoisylvia@aol.com for media inquiries

PRLog (Press Release) - Dec. 5, 2013 - HALF MOON BAY, Calif. -- Shiza Shahid, the 24-year-old cofounder and CEO of The Malala Fund, a nonprofit whose mission is to create a world in which no child is denied an education, is the recipient of the Big Ideas Fest 2013 Innovation in Action Award. The prize was announced yesterday by ISKME, a nonprofit education institute and pioneer in open access learning technologies, on the first night of its Big Ideas Fest (http://bigideasfest.org), an annual convening of innovators in education held in Half Moon Bay, which is ISKME headquarters. This $4,000 cash award, which was sponsored by Rackspace, is given each year to an individual or organization whose project embodies the spirit of its annual Big Ideas Fest: transforming education through innovation in action.

The Malala Fund was named after Malala Yousafzai, who recently released her book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Shiza Shahid, a native of Pakistan, was just a sophomore at Stanford when she organized a summer camp to mentor and provide instruction in writing, speaking, and critical thinkingfor the 10-year old Malala and 26 other young female activists who were fighting for their right to go to school in the Swat Valley.

In helping to create The Malala Fund with Malala and her family, Shahid says, “I wanted this to be based on Malala’s personal dreams — that every girl can go to school. That was the starting point, and then next is figuring out how we can uniquely contribute to that.” Shahid is now working on plans for The Malala Fund to develop direct grant-making capabilities to entrepreneurs in developing countries who are empowering girls with what they need. Says Shahid, “It’s also a great way to create leaders.” The fund also focuses on advocacy and collective action for change.

ISKME President and Founder Lisa Petrides says, “The Big Ideas Fest Innovation in Action Award recognizes those, like Shiza Shahid and The Malala Fund, whose courage and creativity as educators and learners can be an inspiration to all.

“Being an institute that creates tools and services to promote the sharing of knowledge in education, ISKME designed this award to stimulate collaboration and open access to knowledge and learning across all borders,” she adds.

The award is a natural outcome of a decade of ISKME’s work in creating open access to learning resources and promoting collaboration among educators and learners worldwide. At the Big Ideas Fest – a three-day event – participants engage in Action Collabs – hands-on workshops for designing solutions to specific education challenges. The design process is just as important as the solutions, so that, like Shiza Shahid, the participants are prepared, when they return to their home environments, with hands-on training in how to design, create, and activate change. For more information, see www.malalafund.org.