meet this year’s extraordinary winners

The world is facing conflict, environmental collapse, an ongoing pandemic, and extreme levels of injustice and inequality. But in every community, activists and inspiring people are building a better future.

Brave and determined, these activists are standing up to powerful forces and defending those living in poverty, fighting for climate action and empowering the most vulnerable communities.

Eight of these notable activists have been selected as winners of the 2022 Global Citizen Prize, presented by Global Citizen partners Cisco, Citi and Procter & Gamble.

The Global Citizen Prize recognizes activists from around the world whose efforts are focused on ending extreme poverty and achieving the United Nations Global Goals. The award identifies “unsung heroes” from local communities who have defended and improved the lives of the most vulnerable people and communities.

This year’s Global Citizen Award winners hail from countries around the world and have been honored in three categories: Defend the Planet, focused on climate change; Defeat Poverty, focused on breaking down the systemic barriers that keep people in poverty; and Demand Equity, focused on the empowerment of women and girls.

The winners are: Anuscheh Amir-Khalili, activist and social entrepreneur, for Flamingo eV (Germany); Barbie Izquierdo, activist, consultant and community empowerment manager, for Hunger Free America (United States); Brianna Fruean, Climate Activist, Pacific Climate Warriors (Oceania); Khanyisile Motsa, Founder and Director, Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope (South Africa); Mitzy Violeta Cortés Guzmán, defender of the Earth, for the Red Futuros Indígenas (Mexico); Payzee Mahmod, Child Marriage Survivor and Activist, IKWRO – Women’s Rights Organization (UK); and Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough (EiE) from (Nigeria). Each of the winners will receive a year of support from Global Citizen and a donation to their organization. Read on to learn more about each of the winners.

Honorees include the Cisco Youth Leadership Award which was established by Cisco and Global Citizen in 2018 to recognize and elevate a young person who is positively impacting the world to demonstrate the significant role youth play in achieving the Global Objectives.

The recipient of the Global Citizen Award: Cisco Youth Leadership Award 2022 is Nidhi Pant, a chemical engineer and co-founder of S4S Technologies (India). She will receive a significant donation to her organization so that she can continue to grow. You can read more about Pant’s work here, and stay tuned next week as we share more about the remarkable work of each of the Global Citizen Award winners.

“Tackling the world’s most pressing problems will require the innovative and passionate efforts of young entrepreneurs like Nidhi, who are leading the next generation of global leaders who will help usher in a more inclusive and sustainable future,” said Fran Katsoudas, Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer at Cisco. “Cisco is proud to recognize and support Nidhi’s incredible work.”

The eight winners of the Global Citizen Prize will be honored at a special award ceremony and intimate gala dinner on Sunday, May 22, at New York’s Gotham Hall. The event will recognize the incredible efforts of the winners, with an exclusive broadcast of the Global Citizen Prize event airing on YouTube and Twitter on June 2, at 12 pm ET.

Activists will also participate in Global Citizen NOW, a two-day summit in New York on May 22-23 that will bring together 200 leaders from across the private sector, entertainment world, governments and philanthropists to discuss the impact, action and innovation.

Through a series of round tables and conversations. Global Citizen NOW will highlight the message of our year-long campaign: End Extreme Poverty NOW: Our Future Can’t Wait.

The summit is supported by Cisco, Citi, Harith General Partners, Procter & Gamble and Verizon. Stay tuned to the news for more information on Global Citizen NOW.

Learn more about the 2022 Global Citizen Prize winners below.

Cisco Youth Leadership Award: Nidhi Pant, S4S Technologies, India

The 2022 Cisco Youth Leadership Award winner, Nidhi Pant.
Image: Yogesh Chavan for Global Citizen

Nidhi Pant co-founded S4S Technologies, which uses solar technology to help small farmers minimize losses and improve profits. S4S empowers landless women farmers to become micro-entrepreneurs, equipping them with the right mix of technology, finance and market access. In 2019, Pant received the Unilever Award for Youth Entrepreneurship.

Join Nidhi in taking action here.

Global Citizen Award Mexico: Mitzy Cortés, Red Futuros Indígenas & Milpa Project

Winner of the 2022 Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award Mexico, Mitzy Violeta Cortés Guzmán
Image: Gustavo Mora for Global Citizen

As part of the Futuros Indígenas collective, Mitzy Cortés works for climate justice and the environmental defense of her territory in San Sebastián Tecomaxtlahuaca, Oaxaca. She attended COP26 in 2021, where she advocated for intersectional climate action with a delegation called the Last Defenders of the Earth.

Join Mitzy in taking action here.

Citizen Award Oceania: Brianna Fruean, Pacific Climate Warriors

Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award Oceania winner, Brianna Fruean
Image: Riki Reinfeld for Global Citizens

Brianna Fruean got her start in climate activism at age 11, when she became a founding member of the Samoan chapter of climate advocacy group 350.org. Since then, she has become a powerful advocate for climate justice and has earned a seat on the Pacific Climate Warriors Council of Elders as a youth representative.

Join Brianna in taking action here.

Citizen Award Germany: Anuscheh Amir-Khalili, Band of Sisters, part of NGO Flamingo

Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award Germany winner, Anuscheh Amir-Khalili
Image: Konrad Weinz for Global Citizen

Anuscheh Amir-Khalili’s life has been marked by conflict since her family fled the Iran-Iraq war when she was 8 years old. Now in Germany, Amir-Khalili dedicates her time to empowering refugee women and helping them achieve their independence as part of the Band of Sisters, a branch of the non-profit organization Flamingo eV.

Join Anuscheh taking action here.

Citizen Award UK: Payzee Mahmod, Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization (IKWRO)

Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award UK winner Payzee Mahmod
Image: Charlie Melville for Global Citizen

Payzee Mahmod strives to protect girls and end conditions of poverty through her work with the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization, where she focuses on ending child marriage, female genital mutilation, virginity tests and hymenoplasty. Payzee’s advocacy earned her the title of UK Parliament Volunteer of the Year 2021.

Join Payzee in taking action here.

Citizen Award Southeast Africa: Khanyisile Motsa, Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope

Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award SE Africa winner, Khanyisile Motsa
Image: Michael Jaspan for Global Citizen

Khanyisile Motsa has been protecting girls from sex trafficking in the Berea and Hillbrow neighborhood of Johannesburg, South Africa since she founded Hope Home for Girls 20 years ago. This shelter not only protects girls from exploitation, but facilitates their education and development into adulthood.

Join Khanyisile in taking action here.

Citizen Award Nigeria: Yemi Adamolekun, Enough Is Enough

Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award Nigeria winner, Yemi Adamolekun.

Yemi Adamolekun is a strong advocate of good governance. Her organization Enough is Enough aims to eradicate corruption in Nigerian government affairs, organize an informed and active citizenry, and promote transparency in the public sector.

Join Yemi taking action here.

Citizen Award USA: Barbie Izquierdo, Hunger Free America’s Community Empowerment

Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award USA winner, Barbie Izquierdo
Image: Andres Aponte for Global Citizen

Barbie Izquierdo knows that the voices of people living in poverty must be elevated and included in political debates. She has dedicated her life to sharing her story of fighting hunger and defending marginalized communities. Today, Ella Izquierdo is the Director of Community Empowerment for Hunger Free America, and she works to ensure that people get the resources they need to survive and thrive.

Join Barbie in action here.

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