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How Breaking the Rules Could Win You $250,000

The M.I.T. Media Lab’s proposition is simple: Break the rules or shake up the status quo, and you might win $250,000 in cash — no strings attached. No, it’s not a joke. Nominations for the lab’s new Disobedience Award are open.

“There are people doing really important things, breaking either the rules or sticking to their principles with knowledge that they will be hurt or punished in some way,” Joi Ito, the director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

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Betina Kaplan and Lorgia García-Peña, two of the co-founders of Freedom University Georgia, accepted a Disobedience Award honorable mention prize of $10,000.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/89d8b905-1597-4429-9f97-fc91bf7cf4f6"},"title":"defiance-james-hansen.JPG","caption":"

James Hansen received an honorable mention for his pioneering work on climate change.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/dceff6e7-813f-45ad-b93a-8b9086b3b554"},"title":"DSP22041.JPG","caption":"

Phyllis Young and LaDonna Brave Bull Allard of the Water Protectors of Standing Rock receive an honorable mention at the first MIT Media Lab Disobedience awards, July 2017.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/0973928f-1f60-45ea-8e59-b6f4d702c557"},"title":"defiance-award-two.jpg","caption":"

one of the Disobedience Awards presented to the winners and finalists

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/ad64272d-bea0-41ab-be39-9a72ec181554"},"title":"defiance-winners-panel.JPG","caption":"

(l-r) LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Media Lab Director Joi Ito joined Disobedience Award finalists Phyllis Young and LaDonna Brave Bull Allard; Betina Kaplan and Lorgia García-Peña; and James Hansen; along with winners Marc Edwards and Mona Hanna-Attisha.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/fe2ce142-b662-4896-9eaa-af8d4b97cc23"},"title":"defiance-phyllis-ladonna.jpg","caption":"

There were so many deserving nominations that we decided to recognize the Disobedience Award finalists as well, including (l-r) Phyllis Young and LaDonna Brave Bull Allard who represented the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. 

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/848eb6f0-7557-4139-acec-072fad6270e3"},"title":"DSP20914.jpg","caption":"

One of the Disobedience Awards spheres, created by Neri Oxman for Defiance.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/9700a24c-76df-47cf-9bbf-76da53e8591e"},"title":"defiance-yazan-mural-process.JPG","caption":"

Yazan Halwani, painting his mural for Defiance in the days before the event.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/64231968-f1a3-482c-9cf9-9b2519b9fba8"},"title":"defiance-religion panel.JPG","caption":"

 A discussion about the tensions between science and faith, with (l-r) Dominican priest Eric Salobir and MIT's VP for research Maria Zuber, moderated by Berkman Klein Center co-founder Jonathan Zittrain.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/64082bca-de2e-4e0a-addf-060f854bc3b9"},"title":"defiance-reid-joi.JPG","caption":"

MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/41adf21e-4748-4336-a905-8cc60be70b95"},"title":"defiance-winners-panel.JPG","caption":"

MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/d60be2a9-0279-44ca-ae87-880755188409"},"title":"defiance-winners-panel2.JPG","caption":"

MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

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MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

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MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

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MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

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MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/369b8fb4-957d-4cbb-939c-55163d949a26"},"title":"defiance-father-eric.JPG","caption":"

MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

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Adam Foss speaks at the MIT Media Lab's Defiance event, July 21, 2017 in Cambridge, MA

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/d0c510fa-7d8d-4adc-8484-3be7b4c77a02"},"title":"defiance-juliareda4.JPG","caption":"

MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

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MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/9d5e87c7-c635-4566-b2d3-79e8fc96f46f"},"title":"defiance-hansen-award.JPG","caption":"

James Hansen holds his Disobedience finalist award

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/uuid/1268ddba-8cc5-4552-bea1-d61924c59bae"},"title":"defiance-edyou.JPG","caption":"

MIT Media Lab Defiance event, July 21, 2017, Cambridge MA

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Ethan Zuckerman (Director of the MIT Center for Civic Media) and Joi Ito (Director of the MIT Media Lab) welcome attendees to the Media Lab's Defiance event, July 21, 2017, in Cambridge Massachusetts

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MIT Media Lab Defiance Event, July 21, 2017

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MIT Media Lab Defiance Event, July 21, 2017

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MIT Media Lab Defiance Event, July 21, 2017

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