Rewarding Disobedience | 2018

David Silverman Photography

by Jessica Sousa

May 16, 2018

Details about the upcoming Disobedience Award Ceremony on Friday, November 30 will be posted soon. Check back for more details. 

This event is invitation-only and will be livestreamed to the public. The livestream link will be posted as we get closer to the event date. 

If you have questions, please contact

2018 Disobedience Award Selection Committee

We’ve gathered a diverse selection committee from the MIT Media Lab network—activists, scientists, designers, artists, and engineers—to review the nominations and select the award recipient(s).

Joi Ito: Director, MIT Media Lab
Jamila Raqib: Executive Director, Albert Einstein Institution
Ethan Zuckerman: Director, MIT Center for Civic Media
Maria Zuber: Vice President for Research and E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics, MIT
Mona Hanna-Attisha: M.D., MPH, FAAP, Director, Pediatric Public Health Initiative; C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, division of public health; Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State College of Human Medicine and Hurley Children's Hospital at Hurley Medical Center
Martha Minow: 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University  former dean, Harvard Law School
Gerald Holton: Mallinckrodt Professor of physics and history of science, emeritus, Harvard University
Gloria Rudisch-Minsky:  M.D., MPH Director of child health, Brookline Health Department
Ed Boyden: Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT; Leader, Synthetic Neurobiology Group; Associate Professor, MIT Media Lab and McGovern Institute, Departments of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Mohamed Nanabhay: VP, Media Investment Development Fund
Ory Okolloh: Director, Omidyar Foundation

Nominations are now closed for the second MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award, which carries a $250,000 cash prize, no strings attached. 

This award will go to a person or group engaged in what we believe is an extraordinary example of disobedience for the benefit of society: work that impacts society in positive ways, and is consistent with a set of key principles, including nonviolence, creativity, courage, and responsibility for one’s actions. 

We will announce the winners shortly before November 30, 2018.

All nominations are being kept confidential until the winner is announced. 

Eligibility Requirements and Award Details

  • Recipient must be living at the time of nomination.
  • If an organization, it must be currently operational at the time of nomination.
  • Individuals, groups, and organizations cannot nominate themselves.
  • Recipient must have taken personal/professional risk in order to affect positive change.
  • If a group of people or an organization is awarded the prize, they will receive one $250,000 check to distribute at their own discretion.
  • This award is open to any person or group in the world as long as they follow the principles of nonviolent disobedience to impact society in positive ways. All disciplines are eligible.