The JOSE VASCONCELOS World Award of Education 2016 will be awarded to Professor Kalevi Ekman, Professor of Machine Design, School of Engineering, Aalto University, Finland. This prize recognizes his international and productive humanistic approach to education and his visionary and inspiring ideas on the Design Factory Concept as outstanding educational methodology.
The prize further acknowledges Professor Ekman’s relentless efforts as a mentor and teacher and his passion for fostering learning, multidisciplinarity and cross-cultural cooperation.
For 20 years “Eetu”, as he is known, has pioneered methods designed to engage students in the education process, spark entrepreneurship, promote teamwork and enhance multi-culturalism. The actors involved in the Design Factory Network represent diverse fields, ranging from science, engineering, business and design, through to the arts and humanities.
For students, the Design Factory provides a holistic experience characterized by real-life challenges in a relaxed but enthusiastic atmosphere, with genuine teamwork and daily international collaboration. For the business community, the factory is an innovative environment for finding, incubating and implementing new ideas. Meanwhile, for researchers, the Design Factory offers unique opportunities to carry out open-ended research initiatives challenging the industrial status quo.
The success of the Design Factory can be partially measured by the fact that the methods and spaces have been duplicated on five continents, in countries as diverse as China, Australia, Chile, Switzerland, Korea, Portugal, the Netherlands and the USA.
In short, the work of ”Eetu” Ekman has inspired hundreds of university educators and thousands of students around the world and is starting to change the face of higher education by motivating and empowering individuals, highlighting soft skills and human values.
“A true education is not complete without the drive that can only be spurred by a great intent, a high ideal.” José Vasconcelos