The world is facing conflicts, climate breakdown, an ongoing pandemic, and extreme levels of injustice and inequality. But in every community, inspiring activists and organizers are building a better future.

Courageous and determined, they’re pushing back against these powerful forces and standing up for those living in poverty, fighting for climate action, and empowering marginalized people. 

Eight of these remarkable changemakers have been selected as winners for the Global Citizen Prize 2022, presented with Global Citizen partners Cisco, Citi, and Procter & Gamble. 

The Global Citizen Prize recognizes activists across the world whose efforts focus on ending extreme poverty and achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals. The prize aims to identify “unsung heroes” in local communities who have been championing and uplifting the most vulnerable people. 

This year’s Citizen Award winners come from countries around the world and are spread out across three categories: Defend the Planet, focusing on climate change; Defeat Poverty, focusing on breaking down systemic barriers that keep people in poverty; and Demand Equity, focusing on empowering women and girls. 

The awardees include: Anuscheh Amir-Khalili, activist and social entrepreneur, Flamingo e.V. (Germany); Barbie Izquierdo, food security activist and consultant (United States); Brianna Fruean, climate activist, Pacific Climate Warriors (Samoa); Khanyisile Motsa, founder and director, Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope (South Africa); Mitzy Violeta Cortés Guzmán, Defender of the Earth, Futuros Indígenas Network (Mexico); Payzee Mahmod, child marriage survivor and campaigner, IKWRO - Women’s Rights Organization (United Kingdom); and 'Yemi Adamolekun, Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, active citizen & connector. Each winner will receive year-long support from Global Citizen and a donation to their organization. Read on to learn more about each of the winners! 

The honors also include the Cisco Youth Leadership Award — which was established by Cisco and Global Citizen in 2018 to recognize and lift up a young person who is positively impacting the world to demonstrate the significant role young people play in achieving the Global Goals. 

The winner of the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award 2022 is Nidhi Pant, chemical engineer and co-founder of S4S Technologies (India). She will receive a substantial donation to her organization to enable its continued growth. 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 Citizen Award winners.

"Addressing the world's most pressing issues will require the innovative, passionate efforts of young entrepreneurs like Nidhi, leading the next generation of global leaders who will help usher in a more inclusive, sustainable future," said Fran Katsoudas, Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer at Cisco.

All eight Global Citizen Prize winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony and intimate gala dinner event taking place on Sunday, May 22, at New York City’s Gotham Hall. The event will recognize the winners' incredible efforts, with an exclusive stream of the Global Citizen Prize event airing on YouTube and Twitter on June 2, at 12 p.m. ET.

The activists will also take part in Global Citizen NOW, a two-day summit in New York on May 22 and 23 that will feature 200 leaders from across the private sector, advocacy, entertainment, government, and philanthropy to discuss impact, action, and innovation. 

Through a series of panel discussions and fireside conversations, combined with first-person storytelling and visual arts, Global Citizen NOW’s programming will emphasize 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 for more information about Global Citizen NOW.

Learn more about the Global Citizen Prize 2022 winners below.


Meet the 2022 Global Citizen Prize Winners

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 smallholder farmers minimize loss and improve their profits. S4S trains landless women farmers to become micro-entrepreneurs by equipping them with the right combination of technology, finance, and market access. In 2019, Pant received the Unilever Youth Entrepreneurship Award. 

Join Nidhi in taking action here.

Citizen Award Mexico: Mitzy Violeta Cortés Guzmán, Futuros Indígenas Network & 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 collective Futuros Indígenas, Mitzy Violeta Cortés Guzmán 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 Samoa: Brianna Fruean, Pacific Climate Warriors

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

Brianna Fruean got her start in climate activism at 11 years old, when she became a founding member of the Samoan chapter of the climate advocacy group 350.org. Since then, she’s emerged as a powerful advocate for climate justice and has earned a spot on the Council of Elders for the Pacific Climate Warriors as its 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 was shaped by conflict ever since her family fled the Iran-Iraq war when she was 8. Now in Germany, Amir-Khalili spends her time empowering refugee women and helping them gain independence as part of Band of Sisters, an offshoot of the nonprofit Flamingo e.V.

Join Anuscheh in 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 as part of her work with the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization, where she focuses on ending child marriage, female genital mutilation, virginity testing, and hymenoplasty. Payzee's advocacy earned her the UK Parliament Volunteer of the Year 2021. 

Join Payzee in taking action here

Citizen Award South 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 Johannesberg, South Africa, since establishing the Home of Hope for Girls 20 years ago. The safe haven not only shields children from exploitation but also facilitates their education and development into adulthood. 

Join Khanyisile in taking action here

Citizen Award Nigeria: 'Yemi Adamolekun, Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria; Active Citizen & Connector

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

'Yemi Adamolekun is a determined advocate for good governance. Her organization Enough is Enough seeks to root out corruption in government affairs in Nigeria, organize an informed and active citizenry, and encourage transparency in the public sector. 

Join 'Yemi in taking action here.

Citizen Award USA: Barbie Izquierdo, Food Security Activist and Consultant

Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award USA winner, Barbie Izquierdo.
Image: Courtesy of Barbie Izquierdo

Barbie Izquierdo knows that the voices of people living in poverty need to be elevated and included in policy discussions. She’s dedicated her life to sharing her story about struggling with hunger and advocating for marginalized communities. Now the community empowerment manager for Hunger Free America, Izquierdo is working to make sure people get the resources they need to survive and thrive. 

Join Barbie in taking action here.

Advocacy

Demand Equity

Global Citizen Prize 2022: Meet This Year's Extraordinary Winners

By Joe McCarthy