Global Citizen Prize

Cisco Youth
Leadership Award

Recognizing the World's Most Inspiring Youth Leaders


The Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award was established by Cisco and Global Citizen to recognize and lift up a young person positively impacting the world, demonstrate the impact that young people are having on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and accelerate global problem solving.

The Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award honors an individual aged 18-30 who has contributed meaningfully towards the goal of ending extreme poverty. The award includes a US$250,000 prize paid to the organization to which the individual contributes.

Thank you for your entries. Finalists will be announced soon.



Demonstrated track-record of measurable impact at scale over the last 3-5 years advancing one or more of the Global Goals. 


Compelling vision and concrete plans for how to extend this work in the next 3-5 years, including how the prize will advance efforts. 


Inspires other young people to have an impact on achieving one or more of the Global Goals.


Demonstrates the values and embodies the spirit of a Global Citizen and a Global Problem Solver.


Innovates with technology or Internet-based communications to improve efficiency, reach, and magnify impact. 

Join the Movement Changing the World

Cisco Youth Leadership Award Winners

Priya Prakash | 2019 Winner

Priya Prakash is a 28-year-old health care entrepreneur working to ensure every child across India can grow up healthy. 

She is the Founder and CEO of HealthSetGo, an organization integrating technology and health care to empower parents, doctors, schools, and governments to make data-driven decisions to improve the health and lives of children. 

Learn More

Wawira Njiru | 2018 Winner

Wawira Njiru is the Founder and Executive Director of Food for Education, an organization working with vulnerable children in Kenyan public schools to improve their lives by providing subsidized, nutritious school lunches. Food for Education has provided over 400,000 school meals, contributing to improved nutrition status, school attendance, and performance.

Her ambition, simplicity of mission, and proof of impact earned Njiru the first-ever Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award, awarded at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, presented and hosted by the Motsepe Foundation, in December 2018.

Learn More

About the Partnership

Cisco and Global Citizen are united in the belief that young people around the world are leading the way to create and implement solutions to achieve the Global Goals, and to accelerate global problem solving. That is why we created the Cisco Youth Leadership Award.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Global Citizen?

Global Citizen is an action platform dedicated to achieving the end of extreme poverty. By taking action with us, Global Citizens earn rewards, such as tickets to events and digital experiences with artists and influencers. Policy-makers make commitments to achieve the end of extreme poverty on our platform and we hold them accountable. So far, we’ve inspired 27 million actions, leading to $48.8 billion in commitments that have impacted 880 million lives so far. Together we can defeat poverty, defend the planet, and demand equality.

What is the judging process?

Candidates will be judged against criteria by a group of Global Citizen, Cisco, and independent experts.

Up to 10 semi-finalists will be selected and notified on or around October 15, 2020 to submit 3 letters of recommendation. (Once you apply for the Prize, you should have your letters of recommendation ready for submission.) Supplemental information might also be requested of semi-finalists.

If selected as one of the 10 semi-finalists, you will be judged by a panel of representatives from Global Citizen, Cisco, and esteemed activists and leaders in the international development field.

From the 5-10 semi-finalists, 3 finalists will be selected and notified on or around October 30, 2020. The 3 finalists will move forward to a public vote and final round of judging.

The Prize Winner will remain confidential and announced either at the time of filming, live on stage at the 2020 Global Citizen Prize Ceremony or via broadcast in December 2020. 

What does the judging criterion “Global Citizenship” mean? What does “Global Problem Solver” mean?

Please reference the Global Citizen Manifesto for our definition of a Global Citizen. We are looking for a young person who is making extraordinary progress towards one or more of the Global Goals.

Global Problem Solvers innovate as technologists, think as entrepreneurs, and act as social change agents to solve global problems like poverty, inequality, hunger, and more.

What does the Criterion “Technology Innovation” mean?

We are looking for organizations that use an IT-based solution to improve efficiency, reach, and magnify impact. A qualifying IT-based solution is one that produces greater impact, at a lower cost, higher quality, with stronger outcomes – and also enables specific metrics for social outcome to be gathered and reported.

Do I have to be the founder/CEO of the organization to be eligible?

No. We are looking for a transformative leader who is having an impact, and so your title doesn’t matter to us.
In your application, you will be asked for the title of your role in the organization to help us understand how you are having an impact.

Do you accept people from any country?

We accept applications from all over the world, with the exception of countries and entities subject to financial or other sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or other government entity of the United States of America that may restrict the transfer of the Prize money.

Do you only accept non-profits?

No. We accept applications from any individual who is doing impactful work and who has a registered legal entity such as non-profit, for-profit, B-corp, social enterprise, etc.

Is this prize for individuals as well as organizations?

The Prize will be awarded to an individual, but the money will be allocated to their nominated organization that the individual works for.

I have a lot of great ideas, but am just starting out. Am I eligible for the Prize?

We are glad you are passionate about making a difference in the global community. However, this prize is for individuals who have a (recommended) demonstrated impact over the last 3-5 years so the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award may not be right for you.

What is needed for the application?

The application consists of five parts: (1) About You: Personal and Organization Information, (2) Pitch (3) About Your Work (4) Description of how your work aligns with the Judging Criteria (5) Supplemental Organizational Details.

For the first part, you will be required to submit basic information about you and your organization and a scanned copy of your passport.

For the second part, you must explain why you deserve this award and provide us with a 2-3 minute video of your pitch. 

For the third part, you will be required to answer 5 short answer questions about your work.

For the fourth part, you will describe in 250 words or less, how you have achieved each one of the Prize’s criteria.

And for the fifth part, you will submit proof of your organization’s registration details including the certificate of registration, incorporation or tax exemption and other supplemental information.

When does the application open? When does it close?

Applications open for submission on August 17, 2020 10:00 AM EDT and close on Sunday, Sept 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT.

When will I find out if I have been selected?

Up to 10 semi-finalists will be notified on or around  October 15, 2020.

The 3 finalists will be notified on or around October 30, 2020.

What documents are required if I am a semi-finalist? Should I prepare them now?

If you are selected as one of the 5-10 semi-finalists you will be contacted on or around  October 15, 2020 to submit 3 letters of recommendation:

3 Letters of endorsement / recommendation

  • A Colleague
  • A Funder or Operational Partner
  • Person you’ve impacted

Once you apply for the Prize, you should have your letters of recommendation ready for submission. Supplemental information might also be requested of semi-finalists. Semi-finalists who are contacted and cannot provide letters of recommendation and supplemental information by the deadline may be removed from further consideration.

If selected as a semi-finalist, you will be provided with instructions on how to submit your letters of recommendation and supplemental information.

 I’m selected as a semi-finalist, who should provide the letter/video of endorsement?

You should provide a letter (or video) of endorsement from each one of the following:

  • A Colleague
  • A Funder or Operational Partner
  • A person you’ve impacted

Letters should have an official letterhead and original signature. Videos should be no more than 3 minutes long.

Endorsements don’t need to be new / given specifically for this prize, but we do ask that they are less than six months old.

Can I nominate someone for this Prize?

No, applicants must apply for the Prize themselves.

Can I apply in a language other than English?

Unfortunately, at this time we are only able to accept applications in English.

You are welcome to draft your application in another language and send us a translation. We are judging you on the criteria, not your expression.

What happens to my application materials after I submit?

 All application submissions will be reviewed against Award criteria.

If I am selected as the winner, do I have to spend the Prize money in a certain way?

No. Award money is unconditional. However, we do ask applicants for an idea of how they plan to use the money and require the winner to provide quarterly written updates on their organization’s progress for a period of 3 years.

How do I make and send my video? Can I still apply if I cannot create a video?

Your application must include a 2-3 minute video of your pitch, convincing us why you should be awarded this prize. Once you have filmed your video, you must provide a link, either from an online drive such as Google or Dropbox, or from an online video platform such as YouTube.

Applications without a video pitch will not be accepted.

 Can I change my application after I submit it?

No, all applications are considered final.

I’m having trouble submitting my application, what can I do?

Please email

Where can I ask questions not covered here?

If you have any questions that are not answered on the award’s information page or in these FAQs, please email Regretfully we will only be able to respond to questions not answered here.