Pratham USA Award for Outstanding Service in Education to be Presented to Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen

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Pratham USA announced today the selection of Amartya Sen as the recipient of the second annual Pratham USA Award for Outstanding Service in Education. The Award serves to recognize the remarkable ability of an individual to effect change and dramatically impact the delivery of education to the underprivileged.

Pratham USA announced today the selection of Amartya Sen as the recipient of the second annual Pratham USA Award for Outstanding Service in Education. The Award serves to recognize the remarkable ability of an individual to effect change and dramatically impact the delivery of education to the underprivileged.

Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until recently the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was formerly Honorary President of OXFAM and is now its Honorary Advisor.

The influence of Amartya Sen’s work, particularly in the field of welfare economics, is far reaching and speaks specifically to the social reforms implicit in Pratham’s agenda.

“Since I greatly admire the work that Pratham does, it is very nice for me to become associated with Pratham in this wonderful way,” says Amartya.

The 2009 Award was presented jointly to Nandan Nilekani, Chairperson, Unique Identification Authority of India and Chairman Emeritus, Infosys Technologies, Ltd., and Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Pratham Books and Chairperson, Arghyam Trust.

Among the awards he has received are the “Bharat Ratna” (the highest honour awarded by the President of India); the Senator Giovanni Agnelli International Prize in Ethics; the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award; the Edinburgh Medal; the Brazilian Ordem do Merito Cientifico (Grã-Cruz); the Presidency of the Italian Republic Medal; the Eisenhower Medal; Honorary Companion of Honour (U.K.); The George E. Marshall Award, and the Nobel Prize in Economics.

President of Pratham USA, Atul Varadhachary commented, “We are delighted and honored to recognize Dr. Amartya Sen with our Outstanding Service Award. Pratham has a rich history of collaborating with academics, philanthropists and governments in our quest to strengthen education and learning among India’s underprivileged children. We are proud to present this Award to a visionary whose life’s work embodies and helped inspire Pratham’s mission.”

The Award will be formally presented to Amartya Sen on October 21st at the Pratham USA Tri-State Gala to be held at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

About Pratham:

Pratham, which means "first" in Sanskrit, was founded in the slums of Mumbai in 1994 with UNICEF support. Today, Pratham’s direct urban programs, including pre-schools, community libraries and remedial learning programs reach hundreds of thousands of children every year. In 2007, with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Pratham launched the Read India campaign, an innovative, low-cost effort to reach the ~100 million children in India who cannot read, write or do basic math. With the continued support of the Hewlett Foundation in 2010, the Read India campaign has entered its second phase, focusing its attention at the village level and teaching more advanced learning skills.

Pratham's Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) evaluates India's status of education through direct testing of over 700,000 children in 16,000 villages across India. ASER is the only annual measurement of basic literacy and numeracy conducted at scale in India today and its widespread dissemination has helped focus government attention on the issue of learning. To support newly literate children across India, Pratham Books has developed and published over 130 titles and printed over 3 million children's books in local Indian languages.

Pratham's programs have been recognized internationally for their innovation and impact. Recently, Pratham won the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award in the public service category and the Henry R. Kravis Leadership Prize.

With an annual budget of less than $15 million, Pratham combines large-scale impact with an extremely efficient use of funds. Pratham USA (http://www.prathamusa.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a four-star rating (the highest possible) from Charity Navigator, accepts tax deductible contributions from U.S. donors.

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