Gleitsman International Activist Award

The Gleitsman International Activist Award, given biennially (alternating with the Citizen Activist Award), was created in 1993 by the late Alan Gleitsman to honor leadership in social activism that has improved the quality of life in countries and inspired others to do the same. The honoree receives $125,000 and a specially commissioned sculpture designed by Maya Lin, the creator of the Vietnam War Memorial.

The Gleitsman Program for Leadership in Social Change encourages individual commitment and leadership by recognizing the exceptional achievement of innovators who have sparked positive social change. We seek those individuals whose vision and courage inspire others to join with them in confronting and challenging injustice.


Sasha Chanoff
Founder and Executive Director, RefugePoint


Teresa Ulloa Ziáurriz
Regional Director, Coalition Against Trafficking Women


Karen Tse
Founder, International Bridges to Justice



Sakena Yacoobi
Executive Director, the Afghan Institute of Learning



Han Dongfang
International advocate of the worker's movement in China

Patrick Alley, Charmian Gooch and Simon Taylor
Founders, Global Witness



Leaders In The Struggle Against Poverty
Fazle Abed, Jaya Arunachalam, Roman Imboden, and Roy Prosterman


Bernie Krisher
Creator of schools in Cambodia

Martin Macwan

Advocate of Dalits ("Untouchables") Rights


Advocates For Reconciliation In The Middle East
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Yossi Beilin, Bassem Eid, Yitzhak Frankenthal, Galia Golan, Faisel Husseini, Terje Rod Larsen and Mona Juul, Ahmed Qurie (Abu Ala), Uri Savir and Stanley Sheinbaum, posthumous awards in memory of Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein


Maria Adela Antokoletz
Argentinean founder of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo

Muhammad Yunus
Founder, Grameen Bank


Jose Ramos-Horta
East Timor independence advocate

Beate & Serge Kiarsfeld
Prominent Nazi hunters


Nelson Mandela
President, African National Congress

Wei Jingsheng
Advocate of democracy in China

Posthumous Awards

In memory of Helen Joseph& Petra Kelly


Past members of the International Activist Award Board of Judges:


Toc Dunlap, Executive Director, Creating Hope International
Johnny Falla, Gleitsman Leadership Fellow (HKS '10)
Marshall Ganz, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
David Gergen, Director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School
Swanee Hunt, Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Francis James, Senior Justice Advisor, United Nations
Dr. Fang Lizhi, astrophysicist and Chinese democracy advocate
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Chris Mburu, founder, Hilde Back Foundation
Jacqueline Novogratz, Chief Executive Officer, Acumen Fund
Sadako Ogata, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency
Shimon Peres, 1994 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former Secretary General of the United Nations
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, 1980 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate