Outstanding Nebraskans

Dean Jacobs

Dean Jacobs with his special friends, the Achuar children of the Amazon Rain Forest.

Kenneth Morrison

Kenneth Morrison

Mr. Morrison is an international agriculture innovator and businessman. He pioneered shrimp farming methods in Central America and owned large-scale animal production facilities.

He was the first and major contributor to Malaika for global education throughout Nebraska. With his contributions, over 600 Nebraska teachers have attended symposia on Opening Your Classroom to the World. Kenneth Morrison Fellowships were give to 18 Nebraska teachers to travel abroad and attend the Asia Society Conference.

For Mr. Morrison’s outstanding support for global education in Nebraska, he was awarded the 2010 Malaika Global Educator Award at the Celebration & African Art Auction, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, September 23, 2010.

Joe Ricketts with Mrs. Salma Kikwete

J. Joe Ricketts

J. Joe Ricketts, the founder, former CEO and former chairman of TD Ameritrade, is committed to improving global education and thus, he founded Opportunity Education that has benefited nearly 1,500 schools in 13 African and Asia countries and one half million children. Also, the Sister School Program was established with links to 1,000 schools and a pen pal initiative in developing countries and the U.S. to share ideas and foster cultural understanding. The goal of Opportunity Education is to break the cycle through education and support “Schools of Hope” with educational resources and state of the art curriculum in five subjects. For his dedicated service for children globally, Mr. Ricketts was awarded the 2013 Malaika Global Educator Award at a Gala to Support Global Education, Quilt House-University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Sept. 27,2013. Her Excellency, Mrs. Salma Kikwete, First Lady of the Republic of Tanzania, presented a key note at the Gala in recognition of her country’s ongoing partnership with Opportunity Education which supports 453 schools in Tanzania.

Dr. Hank Beachell

Dr. Hank Beachell

Henry “Hank” Beachell, a Waverly, Neb., native and University of Nebraska graduate, was a world-renowned rice breeder. He developed IR8, a rice breed credited with improving the diets of billions of people at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Philippines. In 1987, he was awarded the Japan Prize of the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan. In 1996, Beachell was co-winner of the World Food Prize for contributions to the “Green Revolution.”

To recognize this Nebraska Native, the Nebraska World Food Prize Youth Institute, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska and the Malaika Foundation, award students with winning essays on agricultural topics as Hank Beachell Delegates. They attend the World Food Prize Conference/Borlaug Conference and the World Food Prize Youth Institute with students from 26 other states in Des Moines, Iowa.

Click here for application information.

Dr. Robert Manley

Larry Starr, Nebraska Department of Education, Denise Pedersen, Grand Island Middle School and the late Dr. Robert Manley, Nebraska Historian. Malaika and UNK Symposium, 2008.

Dr. Robert Manley

Eminent Nebraska historian, the late Dr. Robert Manley was an educator for over 50 years, a TV and radio personality, and a writer. His prairie tales, settlers’ stories, and communities’ lore inspired the Museum of Nebraska Art to offer grants for the Listen to the Land program. He is remembered for his recording of the Nebraska State Song, Beautiful Nebraska. Dr. Manley believed that “in order for people to have a future, they must first know they have a past.”

To honor Dr. Manley, the Listen to the Land—Nebraska Heritage and History Research Grants have been established. Managed by the Museum of Nebraska Art, the award provides $200.00 for students, grades 4-12, to write the history of their family or their community. This classroom projects allows students to become historian through the creation of essays, poetry, class made books, digital stories, plays or interviews researching Nebraska History and Heritage.

Download brochure and application.

Dean Jacobs with Achuar students

Dean in the Amazon Rain Forest of Ecuador making special friends with the Achuar people.

Dean Jacobs - Malaika’s Star Presenter for Nebraska Schools

Dean Jacobs, global traveler and photographer, and a member of the Malaika Foundation Board of Directors continues to inspire and educate Nebraska’s students with a focus on the goodness of humanity and the awe of nature.

A native of Fremont, Dean has traveled to over 50 countries and his most recent expeditions include floating down the Amazon and Mississippi Rivers. Dean was so inspired by the sights, people and wildlife that he encountered during his journeys around the world that he needed to share them. He narrates his experiences in his book and puts an educational twist on his awarding winning book, Wondrous Creatures. Dean inspires, educates and opens up new worlds for exploration and learning.

He is Malaika’s most favorite and popular presenter. With support from Humanities Council of Nebraska, Dean has met with hundreds of teachers and students from Omaha to Chadron in professional sessions organized by the Nebraska Department of Education. Schools can contact Dean for information about speaking engagements. To view the excitement of Dean’s visit to a school, view this documentary about his visit to Iowa Schools.

Contact information, P.O. Box 911, Fremont, NE 68026, ph. 402 719 7083. Visit deanjacobs.org to learn more.

“I love working with the Malaika Foundation. We share a similar passion; to educate students in a way that inspires them to live the dream of exploring the world.”
- Dean Jacobs


Read Exploring the World, Creating Connections: One man’s quest to make a difference by following his dreams by Taylor Nicole Smidt.

Grandmother and student of Clinton Elementary

Importance of Educational Campaigns and Contributions for the New Nebraskans

The late Mrs. Armstrong provided books and resources for the Clinton School Library with a goal in introducing new stories and references to an increasing group of new Nebraskans, the young immigrant population. Also, the Malaika Foundation collaborated with the J.C. and Jessie Seacrest Family Foundation in providing books for the Clinton Library.

Mrs. Jean Armstrong at the Clinton School in Lincoln, Nebraska.