The Disobedience Award is open to any living person or group who is or has engaged in acts of responsible, principled, ethical disobedience to authority, with the goal of benefitting society. It is a global award, open to all fields, such as science, politics, civics, law, journalism, medicine, human rights, and innovation. The award does not endorse acts of violence, terrorism, or reckless or dangerous behavior. The key principle behind the award is positive social impact.
We will not dictate in any way how the winner uses the money.
No. The nomination form is designed for nominating third-party individuals or groups.
A panel of judges led by MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito. The panel will be multidisciplinary, and will include experts in civics and law, human rights activists, academics, and scientists.
No. And we held many, many meetings with lawyers, activists, and faculty members–people with experience in this space–on how to best present this award. This included members of the ACLU, Martha Minow (Dean of the Harvard Law School), and others we deemed to be the most credible and experienced with non-violent, ethical disobedience.
We will not reward illegal behavior for its own sake, nor will we consider any people or groups whose activities pose a danger to the public. Our goal is to recognize a person, or group, taking responsibility for their actions, and in so doing may put themselves at risk of persecution.
Anything aimed at nonviolently and ethically challenging our norms, rules, or laws to benefit society. Proper scientific method and correct attention to safeguards during research are the top priority.
Disobedience is a fundamental tenet of unhindered scientific and humanistic inquiry. Examples of this include the work of Galileo, Gandhi, and Rachel Carson.
The award is funded by Reid Hoffman, a member of the Media Lab’s advisory council and co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn.
The winner will be announced at an award ceremony in November. More details will be announced closer to the date.
Yes, following the first award, Reid Hoffman announced he would continue to fund the award annually.
No. This award was first announced at the Media Lab’s Forbidden Research event in July of 2016. Moreover, we are seeking global nominations, and are particularly looking for nominations of unsung heroes doing difficult and important work that goes unrecognized.
We're looking for people who have long-term involvement in politics, science, the arts and social causes, so it's likely that the prize will help support those ongoing efforts. But, like the MacArthur award, we are not attaching any specific conditions. We are, however, offering our help from the Media Lab if we can find ways to productively cooperate on a recipient's efforts.
Martin Luther King Jr., Nicolaus Copernicus, Sojourner Truth, and Carlos Juan Finlay are just a few examples.
In such a case, an individual or key group within the broader movement would be identified.
If you have questions not answered here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.