Professor and Pediatrician Win MIT’s First “Disobedience Award”

The Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) recently announced that professor Marc Edwards and pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, who were both instrumental to discovering the high amounts of lead in Flint, Michigan tap water, are the winners of its first “Disobedience Award.” The $250,000 prize was created by Ethan Zuckerman (director of the MIT Center for Civic Media), Joi Ito (director of the MIT Media Lab), and Reid Hoffman (cofounder of LinkedIn) with the goal of supporting “effective, responsible, and ethical disobedience across disciplines.” In its inaugural year, the prize received close to eight thousand submissions over a six-week period from applicants all over the world. Three finalists also received prizes of $10,000: a group of Native Americans who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock; the founders of Freedom University, a free program for undocumented students at the University of Georgia; and Columbia University climate scientist James Hansen.

Although the Disobedience Award was launched in 2016, co-creator Joi Ito explains that the planning had begun long before Donald’s Trump presidential bid and that the prize intends to have a global focus. Ito has acknowledged, however, that the election has indeed changed the current landscape: “We’re now seeing a wider range of people who are resisting, dissenting, and disobeying.”

Read more at Inside Philanthropy and The Boston Globe.