Grawemeyer Award Winner – Ideas Improving World Order: Dana Burde

By Kim Butterweck -

Hope for a better tomorrow and the belief that ideas have the power to change the world prompted H. Charles Grawemeyer to establish in 1984 the awards program that bears his name. Since then, more than $14 million has been awarded to 148 winners across five fields: music composition, political science, education, religion and psychology.

The 2017 honorees — Hess, McAvoy, Andrew Norman, Dana Burde, Gary Dorrien and Marsha Linehan — recently visited the University of Louisville to accept their $100,000 prizes and to discuss their award-winning ideas. 

Dana Burde – Ideas Improving World Order

Burde earned the 2017 World Order award for analyzing the relationship between education and political violence in Afghanistan, where she’s conducted research for more than a decade. Her 2014 book, “Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan” traces how foreign-backed funding for education can either undermine or support state-building and peacebuilding.  

“Our U.S. government funded a curriculum to develop jihad literacy in the 1980s. And we did that because we thought it was critically important to undermine the Soviets who were occupying Afghanistan,” said Burde. “These textbooks cultivated a link — a very strong link — between religion and violence.”

Burde’s award-winning work also highlights positive outcomes of foreign aid and the power of good quality curricula and accessible, community-based schools. “Thoughtful aid that responds to important needs and social services can be very effective and much of our aid in Afghanistan has been, I would argue.”

View photos from Burde’s lecture.

Source: Grawemeyer Award recipients: Inspiration, innovation and action for a better world (UofL News, May 4, 2017)