IDB and the ALAS Foundation announce winners of the 2015 ALAS-IDB Awards

The ALAS-IDB Awards recognize the best teacher, innovation, children’s book and center in early childhood development

The president of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno joined Latin American leaders in education, international pop stars, NASA engineers and renowned economists gathered to announce the winners of the ALAS-IDB Awards 3rd edition.

This year’s applicant pool was the largest and most diverse to date, with more than 1,200 nominations submitted from 21 different Latin American countries. The award recognizes exceptional publications, teachers, centers, and innovation in early childhood development.

The rigorous selection process takes about a year in which the candidates must first present a detailed proposal of their work and its impact on early education. After this initial phase, four finalists are selected for each category to undergo a process of interviews and field evaluations. The winners are then selected by a panel of experts based on their performance and achievements in early education, which often occur in places or more marginalized populations. The most competitive category this year, with nearly 500 nominations submitted was innovation was followed by center, educator, and children’s book.

The winners of the 2015 ALAS-BID awards are:

Best Teacher:
Elisa Guerra - Colegio Valle de Filadelfia, Mexico

Elisa Guerra list of accomplishments, whether through the numerous textbooks she has published or the 6 schools she has established, testify to her impact in early childhood education. She has worked relentlessly to teach children with mental disabilities and in low-income neighborhoods.

The finalists in the Best Early Childhood Teacher category were: Daniel Ortiz from Bogotá, Colombia; Liliana Del Valle Grisales from Medellin, Colombia; and Francy Arango Valencia from Medellín, Colombia.

Best Children’s Book:
El Libro Negro de los Colores– Menena Cottin, Venezuela

El Libro Negro de Los Colores(The Black Book of Colors) has been translated into over 14 languages, providing children all over the world with descriptions of how colors taste and feel. This book, written in both braille and script, is more than just a beautiful depiction of how we see colors. Rosana Farias textured illustrations also show readers the beauty we perceive when we close our eyes and feel.

The finalists in the Best Children’s Book category included: Federico & Federico by Mexican author Elena Dreser; Tito y Pepita by Colombian author Amalia Low; and Rojo, Azul by Venezuelan author Mireya Tabuas.

Best Center:
Golondrinas Foundation – Medellín, Colombia

The Las Golondrinas center is seeking to restore the social fabric of their once conflicted communities by bringing together children from different backgrounds and teaching them to cooperate at an early age. They are driven by the belief that when children play together, no matter how diverse they are, they can learn to resolve their conflicts in a peaceful way, and more importantly, appreciate each other’s differences.

The finalists in the Best Early Childhood Education Center category were: aeioTU in Medellin, Colombia; the DREAM Project in Cabarete in the Dominican Republic; and Junto con Los Niños de Puebla in Mexico.

Best Innovation:
Fundación Canguro – Bogotá, Colombia

Established in Bogotá, Colombia, the focus of Fundación Canguro (Kangaroo Foundation) is to reverse the negative effects of premature birth, many of which impact the way children learn and develop later on. Based on the method of how mother kangaroos take care of their infants, this innovation now has 30 years of proven, successful results, and rigorous evaluations testify to their effectiveness. Since its foundation, the Kangaroo Foundation has scaled their model to over thirty countries.

The finalists in the Best Early Childhood Innovation category were: the Panamanian Fundación ProEd; the Chilean Fundación Ideas para la Infancia; Recycled Instrument Orchestra from Paraguay.

Prizes for the Winners have been provided by the IDB partners and include: $2,500 from Cargill; $2,500 and tablets by Fundación ALAS and Andreas M. Stenbeck; a collection of 50 children’s books from Santillana; and a round trip to Miami from Avianca.

Calls for next year’s award applications will begin in December of 2015. To nominate yourself or someone you know and to learn more about this year’s winners visit

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The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.