This profile was prepared when Sergio Haddad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Sergio believes the nation’s future can only be guaranteed by greater investments in the current agents of change: young people and adults who are excluded from the educational system. For that reason, he has spent the past 25 years, promoting and defending education as a universal human right, regardless of age, race, sex or class. Driven by principles of social justice, participatory democracy and sustainable development, he has championed the field of youth and adult education in Brazil. After successfully leading an effort to include youth and adult education in the new Brazilian constitution, Sergio created Ação Educativa (Educational Action) to make that commitment a reality. The organization trains teachers in youth and adult education throughout Brazil and its operations are founded on four pillars: Promoting and implementing youth and adult education; supporting a culture of entrepreneurial youth; creating links between popular culture, education and civic engagement; and affecting lasting change in laws and public policies through the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government. Ação Educativa distinguishes itself from other organizations by combining knowledge production and research with the implementation of new teaching methodologies and policies that improve educational levels and foster a true culture of civic participation. Furthermore, it has affected the lives of over 12 million people and is greatly responsible for the creation and implementation of Brazil’s most important laws and norms in public education, influencing everything from the national budget for public education to teachers’ freedom of expression.