Q&A

More information about the Global Leaders and the selection process.

Who are the Tällberg Foundation Global Leaders?

The Tällberg Foundation Global Leaders are women and men who demonstrate the kind of leadership demanded by the challenges of the 21st century: innovative, imaginative, flexible, systems-based, risk-taking and, above all, ethical. By honoring them, the Foundation not only seeks to nurture and extend their accomplishments, but also to encourage others to follow their examples. The actions of the leaders must be in harmony with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

Why has the Foundation established Tällberg Global Leaders?

We believe that many societies—and, indeed, the global system itself—are at or approaching inflection points.  Institutions, paradigms, and societal norms are under enormous pressure to change, but old habits die hard even if they no longer are adequate to deal with new realities.  That puts, or should put, enormous value on courageous leaders and leadership.  The Tällberg Foundation aspires to identify, reward and thereby promote leadership behaviors that have the potential to produce positive change in the face of significant resistance.

We also believe that leaders need to be supported, and we aspire to use the Foundation’s global network to help the Tällberg Global Leaders wherever we can.

Who are the Tällberg Foundation Global Leaders 2017?

  • Rodrigo Rubido Alonso, an architect, co-founder and executive director of Instituto Elos based in Santos, Brazil that is dedicated to participative leadership, community, mobilization and community building;
  • Rebecca Heller, the director and co-founder of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), headquartered in New York and operating globally, which organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons;
  • Fiorenzo Omenetto, the Frank C. Doble Professor of Engineering, and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University who has pioneered the use of silk as a material platform for advanced technology with application in photonics, optoelectronics and nanotechnology;
  • Bright Simons, technology innovator, development activist and social entrepreneur, based in Ghana, whose work challenges the received wisdom about social and economic development strategies and programs in Africa.

How were they chosen?

The four Global Leaders were selected by an international jury from a pool of 220 nominations from 50 countries. The nominees work in a wide range of fields and roles, and included global businessmen, national political leaders, innovative and risk-taking social activists and entrepreneurs, artists, religious figures and many others.

Nominations were made during a two-month, open, online process. Anyone with internet access is eligible to nominate, and anyone from any country from any discipline is eligible for nomination. Only jurors are not eligible to nominate or be nominated. 

The jury reviews all nominations during a multi-day meeting, an intense, interactive process that is led by a non-voting jury secretary and supported by Foundation staff.  The jury defines its own criteria, and every nominee is judged individually. Winners are selected by successive rounds of secret ballot, which means that all jurors have equal weight in the selection process.

How does the jury deal with conflicts of interest?

Because winners are selected by secret ballot, no juror may recuse herself. However, jurors are required to declare any material conflicts and are expected to make their selections without bias.  Ultimately, the process rests on the integrity of the jurors and of the process.

Who served on the jury in 2017?

Defne Ayas, Director, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, The Netherlands; Board Member, Tällberg Foundation

Tom Cummings, Founder, Leading Ventures; former Global Head, Learning and Organization Effectiveness, Unilever; Board Member, Tällberg Foundation

Vishakha Desai, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University, Senior Research Scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs; President Emerita, Asia Society

Aiko Doden, NHK Senior Commentator, NHK World Senior Producer, Japan

Nabil Famy, Founding Dean, The School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, The American University in Cairo; former Egyptian Foreign Minister (2013 – 2014) and diplomat 

Scott Miller, CEO, Core Strategy Group; Co-Founder of RealLeader.com

Laszlo Jakab Orsos, Vice President of Art and Culture, Brooklyn Public Library; former Director, PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature

Alan Stoga, Senior Advisor, Kissinger Associates; President, Zemi Communications; Chairman, Tällberg Foundation

Carole Wamuyu Wainaina, COO, Africa 50 Infrastructure Fund, Casablanca, Morocco; former, UN Assistant Secretary General

Jury secretary:
Muni Figueres, former Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States and Board Member, Tällberg Foundation

Who were Tällberg Foundation Global Leaders 2015 & 2016?

Jamila Afghani, 2015, Founder and Program Director of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization (NECDO) in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Eleni Antoniadou, 2016, is a multidisciplinary researcher in Regenerative Medicine, Artificial Organ Bioengineering and Space Medicine. She currently serves as the President of the European Health Parliament in London, England.

Antonella Battaglini, 2015, Founder and CEO of the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) in Berlin, Germany.

Christiana Figueres, 2016, is the former Executive Secretary the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany

Jason Glaser, 2015, Founder, President and CEO of La Isla Foundation in San Salvador, El Salvador and Chicago, Illinois.

Martín von Hildebrand, 2015, Founder and General Director, Fundación Gaia Amazonas in Bogota, Colombia.

Sunitha Krishnan, 2016, Co-Founder of Prajwala, an anti-trafficking organization; human rights activist; film producer in Hyderabad, India.

Thuli Nomkhosi Madonsela, 2016,  Former Public Protector of South Africa and Chairperson of the African Ombudsman Research Centre in Durban, South Africa

Celina de Sola, 2016, Co-Founder of Glasswing, a community-based education and public health initiative based in El Salvador that works throughout Central America

Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, 2015, Founder and Chairman of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India.

What is the Eliasson Global Leadership Prize of the Tällberg Foundation?

In addition to the Global Leaders initiative, the Tallberg Foundation awards its Eliasson Global Leadership Prize to outstanding leaders, people who have demonstrated the willingness and capacity to address the complexity of 21st century challenges in innovative, risk-taking, and ethical ways.  Prize winners are honored not only for what they have already accomplished, but for their commitment to continue seeking the kinds of positive change our societies demand. Each prize winner receives $50,000.

The prize is named in honor of the international and Swedish diplomat,

Jan Eliasson, who most recently served as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.  The Board of the Tällberg Foundation believes that he embodies the kind of leadership they seek to honor with this prize since—like Jan Eliasson—great leaders can make a profound difference only if they operate in concert with universal human values, are tireless in their efforts, and innovative in their approaches. That said, this is not a prize for diplomats, but an award that takes Eliasson’s approach to leadership as a yardstick against which others can be measured.

What is the relationship between the Tällberg Global Leaders and the Eliasson Global Leadership Prize of the Tällberg Foundation?

Tällberg’s leadership initiative is built on three key elements. 

  • An ever-widening, global-as-possible conversation about the kinds of leadership needed today;
  • A deepening network among Tällberg Global Leaders who engage with each other in an ongoing dialogue that contributes to their individual projects in practical ways;
  • The Eliasson Global Leadership Prize of the Tällberg Foundation. The jury selects the prize winners from the four Global Leaders.

When will the Prizes be announced and awarded?

The Global Leaders 2017 will join the Global Leaders 2015 and 2016 and other selected participants in a workshop on leadership in the 21st century to be convened on November 28-29, 2017 in New York, USA The award ceremony will be held on November 29 at the Paley Center for Media.

Why does the Foundation support a leadership prize?

We believe that singling out truly outstanding leaders with significant cash awards not only helps their work, but also encourages the global conversation about leadership that we hope to provoke.

How is the prize funded?

The lead sponsor of the Tällberg Foundation global leaders and global leadership prize is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (www.SNF.org). The Stavros Niarchos Foundation plays no role in the selection process.

SNF is one of the world’s leading private international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organizations and projects that are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. SNF also seeks actively to support projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.  Since 1996, SNF has committed more than $2.4 billion, through almost 4,000 grants to nonprofit organizations in 113 nations around the world —including a new SNF initiative to expand its support of the health sector in Greece with a series of infrastructure and education projects, expected to exceed $240 million.