The Hillel Ruskin Memorial Scholar Lecture Award seeks to perpetuate and recognize the contributions of the namesake of this award by sponsoring a scholarly lecture focused on advancing concepts related to leisure, leisure education and leisure policy development. The Hillel Ruskin Memorial Scholar Lecture Award is presented at the biennial World Leisure Congress.

Professor Hillel Ruskin (1934-2003) was the Dr. Robert t. Rosenfeld Professor Emeritus of Sports Medicine, Chairman of the Cosell Center of Physical Education Leisure and Health Promotion and Director of the Graduate Program in Physical Education of the School of Public Health of the Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was also the chairperson of the Israel Leisure and Recreation Association.

Hillel was a life member of World Leisure and as a Board Member and Chairman of the Commission on Education he contributed widely and actively to Board, Commission and Congress activities and programmes.

He was Vice-President of the European Leisure and Recreation Association, Commissioner of Leisure Education of the School System in Israel and a Past President of the International Council of Physical Activity and Fitness Research: He received his BA from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and MA and Ph.D. from New York University. He has written more than 200 articles and publications in the fields of leisure recreation leisure and health promotion. For his contributions he received numerous awards, among which the Education Award for lifetime contributions by the President of the State of Israel.

His research interests were: Factors affecting physical activity and fitness during leisure time and the effects of physical activity on psycho-social and physiological aspects in industry. Physical education and leisure education curricula development. He published over 50 books and papers.  The first award was made at the 10th.World Leisure Congress in Quebec City (2008), Canada and it has been subsequently made at each biennial World Leisure Congress.

Award & Benefits

  • The recipient will have the opportunity to present a featured scholarly lecture at 16th World Leisure Hybrid Congress in front of a large audience.
  • Free registration to attend the 16th World Leisure Hybrid Congress. (*Online registration to participate in virtual sessions if international and cannot attend in person).
  • Acknowledgement of her/his contribution to a large world-wide audience in a hybrid Awards Ceremony.
  • The World Leisure Journal will provide temporary free/open access to selected articles published by the recipient.
  • The winner of the Award will be part of the story line of the Awards in the WLO, and it will be promoted by WLO in the following means: a dedicated space in the WLO website and announcement in the WL News – Newsletter, together with an interview. Furthermore, all these communication actions will be fostered through the WLO various social media channels and specifically disseminated by leisure media strategic partners.


Criteria for Selection

• Scholarly record for a number of years as evidenced by publications and scholarly presentations;
• Public service and leadership as evidenced by professional presentations, consultation, and professional leadership;
• Commitment to the profession through service at global, national, regional, state/provincial, and/or local levels; and
• Research expertise as evidenced by research projects, research publication and/or grants.

Selection Procedures

Applications will be evaluated on:
• The impact of their research and scholarly contributions to the professional literature;
• The relevance of their scholarship to leisure, leisure education and as practice; and/or
• The impact of their professional leadership.

Application/Award Procedures

The nomination file should include the following:
• Name of the individual, title, organizational affiliation and full contact details;
• A written statement of not more than 1,000 words that addresses the nominees scholarly efforts and/or other professional contributions, referencing the impact that the nominees contributions have made to the professional literature and/or professional practice; and
• The nominees curriculum vita.
• Nominations are due on the 18th December, 2020.
• Please send nominations in pdf format via email to World Leisure Secretariat:
• Applications are evaluated by a selection committee drawn from World Leisure Board of Directors and the Chief Operating Officer.


2014 Adriana Estrada-González

Adriana Estrada is a leisure and tourism professor in the Faculty of Business Studies at Universidad de Monterrey (México). She received a BA in Leisure Management Studies from Universidad Mexicana del Noreste (Monterrey, México). She continued her postgraduate studies at the WLRA International Centre of Excellence in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, holding a MA in International Leisure Studies. Adriana studied a PhD on Leisure and Human Development at Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. Her research interests are in the field of tourism management and marketing, social tourism, leisure education and edutainment.

In 1993, Adriana Estrada collaborated in the Local Secretariat of the 3rd World Leisure Congress in Jaipur, India, on the topic “Leisure, Tourism and the Environment: Issues for Human Development”. She also organized in 1998 the WL International Seminar “Leisure Education and Youth at Risk” in Monterrey, México. Adriana has served as a member of the World Leisure Organization’s Board of Directors from 1997 to 2003, and she participates in the WLO Leisure Education Commission and the Leisure Management Commission.

She has been the Chair of the Leisure Management Department at Universidad Mexicana del Noreste, but is also active in the public and social sector, engaging with a national association supporting the education of senior citizens as well as delivering training activities at the Ministry of Education.

Adriana has published widely, chapters for foreign books, refereed publications for national and international journals, as well as articles for newspapers and magazines. She has also participated extensively in national and international congresses, seminars and conferences, specially being a presenter in ten WLO World Congresses. She has also been invited as a Guest Professor by several North American universities. “Rethinking Leisure Education in Later Life: a Mexican Experience” was the topic for the 2014 Hillel Ruskin Memorial Scholar Lecture delivered in Mobile, Alabama. This lecture focuses on the importance of a pre-retirement program in a university environment.

2012 Brenda Robertson

Dr. Brenda Robertson served as a leisure studies professor at Acadia University in Canada for 30 years prior to retiring July 2012. Her interest in the area of leisure education developed in the 1980’s reading the work of Jean Mundy and Forest McDowell. Her PhD research focused upon understanding why certain individuals engage in delinquent activity as leisure. As a scholar practitioner she has developed leisure education models, initiatives and resources; facilitated program delivery to a variety of disenfranchised groups; taught academic courses and workshops with a leisure education focus; conducted and published related research; as well as being an advocate for leisure education presenting her work throughout North America as well as in Europe and Africa. Specific settings in which she has worked include youth centers, correctional facilities, schools, treatment centers, rural communities, and universities. It is her belief that leisure education is necessary for a healthy satisfying lifestyle and is a lifelong process of personal development.

Highlights of her leisure education work include the creation and implementation of 7 leisure education delivery models; development of a leisure education text simply entitled The Leisure Education Manual; and having the opportunity to work with scholars from other countries including the late Hillel Ruskin. Recently, she has become a dedicated advocate for leisure literacy in public schools. She describes leisure literacy as culturally defined knowledge and skills required by individuals in order to take responsibility for personal positive leisure functioning. This was the focus of her Hillel Ruskin Memorial Scholar Lecture in Rimini.

2010 Elie Cohen-Gewerc

Elie Cohen-Gewerc is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in Beit Berl College (Israel). He received his Ph.D. in 1988 from the University Sorbonne (Paris I), the Department of Philosophy. Freedom and the human challenge of being free is the main issue he investigates. He wrote tens of articles and four books; the last one was in 2013 Serious Leisure and Individuality, with Robert Stebbins, McGill University Press, Montreal.

He was Director in the board of directors of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and contributed to enlarge the part of arts, in it. These activities in the Media field lead him into Leisure issues. His interest in Leisure studies date from the nineties as an expansion of his concrete experience and his interest in philosophy of Aesthetics focused on freedom and creation. This interest was intensified thanks to the tight collaboration with Prof. Hillel Ruskin in various programs in order to improve Leisure Education in general and teachers training in the field.

His Hillel Ruskin Memorial Scholar lecture was published in World Leisure Journal, vol. 54 Issue 1 March 2012.

2008 Atara Sivan

Prof. Sivan is Associate Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Professor in the Department of Education Studies of Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong. She holds a PhD from The University of Hong Kong (Education) and MA; PDGE (Social Sciences); and BA (Education and Sociology) all from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She is the President and Senior Fellow of the World Leisure Academy and the Founder and President of the World Leisure Organization: Hong Kong Chapter. She is also the Editor-in- Chief of the World Leisure Journal. Prof. Sivan has served as a member of the World Leisure Organization’s Board of Directors and is active in the World Leisure Organization’s Leisure Education Commission.

Prof. Sivan’s research interests are in the areas of youth development and leisure education, curriculum, pedagogy and teacher education. She has contributed to the development of leisure education internationally through the preparation and dissemination of position papers, serving as a scientific adviser to the development of a comprehensive leisure education curricula for schools in Israel, examining leisure education cross culturally and publishing extensively in this area. She has published extensively in her areas of academic endeavor. Among her books are: Leisure Education Towards the 21st Century; Leisure Education, Community Development and Populations with Special Needs; Leisure Education in School Systems; and Leisure Education: A Cross-National View. She has also authored articles in journals focusing on pedagogy and teacher education. Prof. Sivan has made a number of keynote and invited presentations including ones made in Korea, Canada, The People’s Republic of China, Germany, Israel, United States of America, Spain, Austria, Mexico, United Kingdom, Singapore, Thailand and South Africa.

Her Inaugural Hillel Ruskin Memorial Scholar lecture was written as an academic paper entitled: “Leisure education in educational settings: From instruction to inspiration” and published in 2008 in Society and Leisure, Volume 31, Issue 1.