Lee Gordon, founder of Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel, has been named the 2018 Brock International Prize in Education Laureate for his groundbreaking work in Israel that has been truly transformative in bringing Arabs and Israelis together in a dynamic educational community.
Gordon’s organization, Hand in Hand, was founded in 1999 as an Israeli non-profit organization that has since created a network of integrated public schools serving Arab and Jewish children. Starting with just 50 students in 1998, Hand in Hand now has six campuses and over 1,600 Jewish and Arab students, and is making a significant impact in Israel for Jewish-Arab partnership and coexistence.
The Brock International Prize in Education, named for Oklahoma natives John and Donnie Brock, is awarded annually and recognizes individuals who have made a specific innovation or contribution resulting in a significant impact on the practice or understanding of the field of education. The prize is about big ideas that make meaningful change in the way people think and act. Three Oklahoma universities partner in the Brock Prize: Oklahoma State University, The University of Oklahoma, and The University of Tulsa.
“We are delighted to have Lee Gordon as our 2018 Laureate. He is an inspiration to all who pray for peace in Israel,” said Brock Prize founder, John A. Brock.
Each year, nine jurors convene to present their nominees and select the new Brock Prize Laureate. Innovators and thought-leaders in their own right, the jury includes champions of education, university officers, professors, business and government officials, and others committed to excellence in education.
Yohai Gross, an Israeli educator who specializes in work with at-risk and special needs youth, nominated Gordon for this award and represented Gordon’s nomination to his fellow jurors. “Lee Gordon’s educational innovation is the kind of thing that restores our faith in humanity,” said Gross. “His work of breaking the barriers between Arabs and Jews in Israel through education is a model that we can all learn from and hope to emulate.”
Gordon will be formally honored at the annual Brock Prize Symposium in spring of 2018, at which he will be the featured speaker. In addition to the monetary award of $40,000, Gordon will receive a vellum certificate denoting the honor and a sculpture of legendary Native American educator Sequoyah. The Prize is endowed through the Brock Family Community Foundation.