Universitas 21 Gilbert Medal Medal Presentation Delayed by COVID-19

Universitas 21 (U21) is delighted to have chosen Professor Anant Agarwal as the 2020 winner of its prestigious Gilbert Medal Award, which recognises an outstanding contribution to international higher education. 

Professor Anant Agarwal

The award has been won in the past by leading global figures such as Professor Bruce Chapman, who designed the world’s first national Income Contingent Loan (ICL) scheme for student fees and Professor Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland and chair the European Commission High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe.

Professor Agarwal is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the founder and CEO of edX , the trusted platform for learning and one of the world’s largest providers of interactive, online classes and MOOCs.   Professor Agarwal has pioneered online education, building on his personal skills in information technology and engineering to bring high quality education to the masses. He taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics from MIT, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries.

Professor Agarwal was due to be presented with his award at U21’s Annual General Meeting and Presidential Symposium at the University of Zurich in May, but the current global pandemic sadly saw the face to face event cancelled.  However much of the meeting content is available online here, a fitting tribute to Professor Agarwal’s ground breaking work to share education online.

On hearing of the award earlier this year, Professor Agarwal said:

‘Thank you so much, I am honoured to accept this incredible recognition on behalf of edX, our worldwide partners and learners. Universitas 21 is an invaluable group of institutions with a commitment to education that is truly inspiring, making this recognition an even more momentous one.’

U21's Provost, Professor Bairbre Redmond, shared her congratulations on behalf of the network: ‘I am particularly pleased that Professor Agarwal is this year’s U21 Gilbert Medal Award. His knowledge of, and innovative responses to the rapidly changing higher educational landscape are extremely pertinent in light of the needs of the U21 membership, overall. His expertise has particular relevance for the U21 Educational Innovation Cluster, particularly their recent work on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and rapid technological change on university teaching, learning, curriculum design and student lifelong learning in our network.'

‘We were very sorry not to be able to present Professor Agarwal with his medal in Zurich this summer.  We very much hope that we will be able to meet him in due course and give him his award in person.’

About edX

edX is the trusted platform for education and learning. Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is home to more than 30 million learners, the majority of top-ranked universities in the world and industry-leading companies. As a global non profit, edX is transforming traditional education, removing the barriers of cost, location and access. Fulfilling the demand for people to learn on their own terms, edX is reimagining the possibilities of education, providing the highest-quality, stackable learning experiences, including the ground breaking MicroMasters® programs. Supporting learners at every stage, whether entering the job market, changing fields, seeking a promotion or exploring new interests, edX delivers courses for curious minds on topics ranging from data and computer science to leadership and communications. edX is where you go to learn.


R Edwards