Calif., January 14, 2009--Claremont McKenna College
and the Kravis Leadership Institute announced today the
selection of Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of
Learning, to receive the fourth annual Henry R. Kravis Prize in
The Kravis Prize,
which carries a $250,000 award designated to the honoree's
organization, recognizes extraordinary leadership in the
nonprofit sector. Dr. Yacoobi
was selected for her outstanding record providing an estimated
350,000 women and children with access to education and health
care each year.
The Kravis Prize will be presented to Dr. Yacoobi at
ceremonies on March 31 in New York City.
Established in 2006, The Henry
R. Kravis Prize in Leadership recognizes and celebrates
extraordinary accomplishment and bold, visionary leadership
in the nonprofit sector. The Kravis Prize is administered by
Claremont McKenna College (CMC), the Kravis Leadership
Institute (KLI), and Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis. Mrs.
Kravis, an economist, is a Senior Fellow of the Hudson
Institute; Mr. Kravis, founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis
Roberts & Co., is an alumnus and trustee of Claremont
It is important to
understand that entrepreneurial spirit and leadership are just
as vital to achievement in the not-for-profit world as they are
in the private sector, said Mr. Kravis. We are pleased and proud
to recognize and celebrate the significant and inspirational
work being done by Dr. Yacoobi and the Afghan Institute of
and the Afghan Institute of Learning
Sakena Yacoobi has spent the last
28 years providing education, training, and health care services
to women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. One of her
enduring contributions is focusing attention on the issue and
importance of girls education in Afghanistan.
Born in Herat, Afghanistan, Dr.
Yacoobi came to the United States in the 1970s and received her
education at U.S. universities. In 1990, she left a successful
career as a professor and consultant in the U.S. and returned to
Afghanistan during the Taliban's rule to work with her native
people. Dr. Yacoobi founded the Afghan Institute of Learning
(AIL) in 1995 while working in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan.
AIL's first program initiative was to establish learning centers
in the refugee camps in response to the women's requests for
educational opportunities for themselves and their children.
AIL grew and evolved to fulfill
unmet needs and currently operates 41 women's learning/education
centers, five health centers, and three mobile health clinics.
Seventy percent of AIL's 450 staff members are Afghan women.
Under Dr. Yacoobi's leadership, AIL has become one of the
largest nonprofit organizations in Afghanistan and currently
serves more than 350,000 women and children each year. The
organization achieves this impact on a relatively small budget
of $1.1 million per year, with a cost of $3 per beneficiary.
Dr. Yacoobi's achievements
demonstrate significant courage and persistence in the face of
extensive obstacles to educating girls and women in Afghanistan.
During the Taliban's rule, for example, the education of girls
was prohibited. Dr. Yacoobi and the staff of AIL risked great
personal harm in operating 80 underground home schools for 3,000
girls during the 1990s.
AIL's innovative and effective
approaches serve as a model in the sector, and AIL actively
assists in building the capacity of other organizations and
entities. The concept of women's learning centers and AIL's
methods have been replicated by many nonprofit organizations
in Afghanistan as well as by government and educational institutions. AIL
also provides training and technical assistance to small, local
Afghan community-based organizations to help build the capacity
of Afghanistan's civil society sector and increase the
enrollment of female students.
Established in 2006, The Henry R.
Kravis Prize in Leadership recognizes and celebrates
extraordinary accomplishment and bold, visionary leadership in
the nonprofit sector.
The Kravis Prize Selection
Committee, chaired by Marie-Josée Kravis, includes: Harry
McMahon, CMC alumnus and chair of the Claremont McKenna College
Board of Trustees, and vice chairman, Merrill Lynch & Co.; Sudha
Murty, chairperson, Infosys Foundation; Amartya Sen, Nobel
Laureate in economics and the Thomas W. Lamont University
Professor at Harvard University; Lord Jacob Rothschild,
chairman, Rothschild Investment Trust Capital Partners; and
James D. Wolfensohn, chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, L.L.C., and
former president, The World Bank.
Committee, led by Mr. Kravis, includes: Mr. McMahon; Peter
Barker, member of the CMC Board of Trustees and retired partner,
Goldman Sachs & Co.; Pamela Gann, president, Claremont McKenna
College; and Scott Miller, chief executive officer, Six Sigma
Academy, Aspen, Colo.
While the Prize typically
recognizes an outstanding individual, in exceptional
circumstances the Prize may be awarded to an organization. The
Prize is awarded annually
based on nominations that are received from a group of confidential
nominators. These nominators are selected on the basis of the
breadth and depth of their knowledge of the nonprofit sector.
Nominators are chosen internationally and
from a variety of fields.
Nominations span a broad range of
sectors in the nonprofit field, including economic development,
public health, law/justice/human rights, education, and capacity
building in the nonprofit sector as a whole. Selection criteria
include boldness, innovation, creativity, consistency,
persistence, and effectiveness in bringing a vision to fruition.
Nominees are also evaluated
based on their accomplishments in realizing the mission of an organization
and demonstrating best practices in managing that organization.
In choosing a winner from the pool
of nominees, the Selection Committee draws upon its own
expertise, letters of recommendation from nominators, and expert
evaluations assembled by the Prize staff. Nominees are assessed
using carefully crafted quantitative and qualitative measures
based on best practice analysis and evaluation methods. These
measures are focused primarily on direct impact and achievement.
The assessment framework also provides for a qualitative
analysis of bold, visionary leadership and for review of
financial stability and integrity, governance, and management
stability. The Kravis Prize Selection Committee makes its final
selection of a winner after reviewing extensive information and
data within the context of this methodology. The recipient of
the Prize receives recognition at an award ceremony and $250,000
to be directed to the nonprofit organization of his or her
The Kravis Leadership Institute,
which co-sponsors the Prize, is central to the Claremont McKenna
College mission of preparing students for responsible leadership
in business, the professions, and public affairs. KLI plays an
active role in the education of CMC students by involving them
in professional research on leadership research issues and by
offering an intense, interdisciplinary leadership curriculum
combining classroom study with hands-on leadership experience.
Through its academic research, model leadership development
programs, broad leadership curriculum and systematic outreach
efforts, the Kravis Leadership Institute has become one of the
most recognized leadership programs in higher education.
Past recipients of The Henry R.
Kravis Prize in Leadership are: Roy Prosterman, the inaugural
recipient (2006), founder of the Rural Development Institute;
Fazle Abed (2007), founder of BRAC; and the Forum for African
Women Educationalists (FAWE) (2008).
McKenna College is a highly selective, independent liberal arts
college educating leaders in business, the professions and
public affairs. A member of The Claremont Colleges, in
Claremont, California, CMC is consistently ranked among the
nation's best colleges. For further information regarding the
Kravis Prize, please visit