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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Princess of Asturias Awards

05/08/2019

Salman Khan and the Khan Academy, Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation

Salman Khan and the Khan Academy have been bestowed with the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award

©FPA

Salman Khan and the Khan Academy have been bestowed with the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for this Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Gustavo Suárez Pertierra and composed of Maite Arango García-Urtiaga, Mitchell Codding, Beatriz Domínguez-Gil González, Paula Farias Huanqui, Gloria Fernández-Lomana García, Enrique Fernández-Miranda y Lozana, Duke of Fernández-Miranda, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Luis García Montero, Emilio Lamo de Espinosa Michels de Champourcin, Daniel López Acuña, Jerónimo López Martínez, Juan Carlos del Olmo Castillejos, Rafael Sánchez Ortega, Luis Sánchez-Merlo Ruiz and Rosa María Calaf Solé (as acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Fran García del Pozo, founder and CEO of Generación Code.

Son of an Indian mother and Bangladeshi father, Salman Amin Khan was born on 11th October 1976 in New Orleans (Louisiana, USA) , where he grew up. A graduate in Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Khan earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard University, after which he began working as a financial analyst. In 2004, Salman Khan offered to help his cousin Nadia with her Maths schoolwork. Due to living in different cities, they communicated by telephone with the support of some basic computer tools. As this formula yielded quite positive results, within a short time Khan was remotely monitoring the progress of several relatives with similar problems at school. In 2006, Salman Khan began publishing videos on the YouTube platform explaining his lessons so that everyone could view them on their own. These videos began to be seen by more and more people, who encouraged him to continue publishing new lessons. So, in 2008 he created the Khan Academy, a non-profit organization to which he has devoted himself full time since 2009, when he presented his resignation from the investment fund for which he was then working.

Salman Khan’s academic preparation and his teaching capacity quickly led him to discover his interest in the field of education. The Khan Academy is the consolidation of an innovative, transformative format that offers free educational material on the Internet for all ages, from primary through to high school. Although the content was initially aimed at students, it has gradually become a very useful tool for teachers who wish to complement their classroom lessons with additional material. Oriented towards mathematics in its origins, the educational platform has gradually opened up to new fields including science, history and grammar.

The Khan Academy is currently found in more than 190 countries, with nearly sixty million registered users. It also has around 20 000 videos available that have been viewed more than 1400 million times. Complementing the function of the videos by offering the possibility of monitoring individual student progress, doing practice exercises or providing additional tools to teachers, the Academy’s web platform is available in five languages in addition to English: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Turkish and Bengali, and its videos have been translated into 36 languages. The Khan Academy also offers the possibility of preparing for general college and medical college admission tests (SAT and MCAT, respectively). In 2017, it became an official partner for the preparation of American College Board tests and, since 2018, it also offers preparation for law school admission tests (LSAT). The Academy likewise promotes the concept of the ‘flipped classroom’, which seeks to ‘flip’ the traditional teaching method, encouraging students to prepare theory at home so as to allocate class time to the more practical part, working directly with the teacher. Salman Khan’s commitment is thus to the universality of education and the empowerment of people from an early age. His motto is: “You only have to know one thing: you can learn anything.”

Distinguished with the 2014 Heinz Award for innovative contributions in the category of the Human Condition, Salman Khan has managed both to draw the attention and seek the support of prestigious personalities and institutions such as Bill Gates, Google (2008 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities), Carlos Slim and Disney, among others, who have seen his project as a way to support free universal education.

As stated in the Regulations, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation shall be aimed at recognizing “individual or collective work, in cooperation with another or others, to develop and promote public health, universal education, the protection and defence of the environment, as well as the economic, cultural and social advancement of peoples.” This year a total of 29 from 15 different countries, have been nominated for this award. This is the third of eight Princess of Asturias Awards, which are being bestowed this year for the thirty-ninth time. The Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts went to British theatre director Peter Brook and the Princess of Asturias Awards for Communication and Humanities went to The Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado). The rest of awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Sports, Literature, Social Sciences, Technical and Scientific Research and Concord.

The remaining awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Sports, Social Sciences, Literature, Technical and Scientific Research and Concord. Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards comprises a Joan Miró sculpture –representing and symbolizing the Awards–, a cash prize of 50,000 euros, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a solemn ceremony chaired by TM The King and Queen of Spain.

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