Global Citizen Prize

Cisco Youth
Leadership Award

Recognizing the World's Most
Inspiring Youth Leaders

2023 Applications Are Closed

Finalists will be notified by mid-March


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 United Nation's Global 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.



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

Selection Committee 

Sabrina Elba

Sabrina Dhowre Elba is a CEO, Model and Activist. Born in Vancouver, Canada and of Somali Descent, Sabrina is passionate about gender equality and promoting the empowerment of women and girls worldwide and was appointed UN Goodwill Ambassador for IFAD in April 2020 and has dedicated her efforts as IFAD Goodwill Ambassador to the challenges faced by rural women and girls.

Sabrina also works with various civil society organizations, including Farm Africa, Conservation International, as a board member, on environmental issues, co-chairing the European board for Global Citizen, ambassador for mothers2mothers and patron for S.T.O.R.M. Domestic Violence Charity.

Hugh Evans

Hugh Evans, Global Citizen’s CEO and Co-Founder, grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and over the course of his life has become one of the most recognized leaders in international development. Over the past decade, Hugh has built a movement of millions of people around the world who are working to end extreme poverty by 2030, in support of the United Nations Global Goals.

For his efforts, Hugh has been named Young Australian of the Year (2004), featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 (2012), was named as one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business (2014), received the GQ Man of the Year Award for Chivalry (2014), recognized with the Diamond Ball Award for Humanitarian Work (2018), and was also honored in Town & Country’s Philanthropy Summit (2021). Hugh has also been honored as Billboard magazine’s Humanitarian of the Year (2015), his life story was profiled in 2017 in a CNBC special titled, The Brave Ones, and Global Citizen, currently owns two Guinness Book of World Records, has won multiple Webby awards, and was named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Businesses in 2021.

He has spoken at major international forums including the World Economic Forum, Cannes Lions, SXSW, CES and more.

Francine Katsoudas

Francine Katsoudas is Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer of Cisco. In this role, Fran oversees critical functions that instill Cisco’s conscious culture, contribute to the company’s overall performance, and advance Cisco’s purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All.

As head of the People, Policy & Purpose Organization, Fran leads an ecosystem comprised of People & Communities, Corporate Affairs, Workplace Resources, and Government Affairs & Country Digital Acceleration. This strategic alignment of functions and expertise ensures holistic care for the well-being of Cisco’s people, establishes Cisco as a trusted and valued partner to governments and global leaders, and extends Cisco’s reach to positively impact communities everywhere in alignment with the company's purpose.

A 25-year veteran of Cisco, Fran has extensive experience leading organizational transformations, driving large scale growth, cultivating successful leaders and teams, and constructing an employee-first culture. Prior to her current role, she served as HR business partner to the Engineering leadership team, and held positions in the Service Provider, HR Operations, Customer Service, Acquisition Integration and Services groups. Prior to Cisco, Fran worked in both the financial and professional services industries with a focus on customer service and operations.

Fran currently serves on the Board of Directors for Americares, Global Citizen, and ADP.
Passionate about social justice, Fran is an activist and advocate for a variety of causes close to her heart, particularly women’s leadership, homeless youth, and the Latino community. A graduate of the University of California Berkeley, Fran lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children.

Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is former United Nations Under- Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was awarded a doctorate in Technology andEducation from Warwick University. She has authored several scholarly and other opinion pieces. A Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.She became a Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister of Department of Trade and Industry, Minister of Minerals and Energy, and finally as Deputy President of South Africa in 2005 to 2008, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka worked tirelessly on programmes and policies to reduce inequality. As the head of the UNwomen, she has been a globaladvocate for women and girls. She established initiatives such as the HeForShe for men and boys to address gender Equality.She also successfully mobilized an historic $40 billion USD   for women and girls around the world. She is a founder and leader of Umlambo Foundation which is dedicated to improvement of education and digital literacy training for educators.

Nidhi Pant

Nidhi Pant is a chemical engineer turned farmer turned entrepreneur and Co-Founder of S4S Technologies. S4S Technologies is a near-farm gate food processing platform, converting farm losses into value-added products through the intervention of sustainable solar-powered technology. S4S trains landless women, farmers to become Micro-Entrepreneurs, by equipping them with the right combination of technology, finance, and market.S4S is working with over 6500 farmers, and 505 Women Entrepreneurs.S4S is funded/supported by Acumen Fund, Shell Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, FICCI,UN Women, FCDO, DBS Foundation. Nidhi is the winner of the Women Transforming India Awards by NITI Aayog and United Nations (UN). She has also been listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and Winner of Unilever Young Entrepreneur Award 2019.

Cisco Youth Leadership Award Winners

Nidhi Pant  | 2022 Winner

Nidhi Pant, our 2022 Cisco Youth Leadership Award winner, is a chemical engineer turned farmer turned entrepreneur and Co-Founder of S4S Technologies. S4S Technologies is a near-farm gate food processing platform, converting farm losses into value-added products through the intervention of sustainable solar-powered technology. S4S is working with over 6500 farmers, and 505 Women Entrepreneurs. Nidhi has also been listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and was the Winner of the Unilever Young Entrepreneur Award in 2019. 

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Christelle Kwizera | 2020 Winner

Christelle is a Rwandan mechanical engineer and social entrepreneur. At 20, she founded Water Access Rwanda to solve the water crisis while also creating employment for young people. The social enterprise unapologetically designs for the bottom of the pyramid, offering simple and affordable solutions to meet the urgent need of 456 million Africans for safe water.

With the award, Water Access Rwanda will transition to scale, improving capacity to reach 30 million people and create 15,000 decent jobs by 2030.

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Priya Prakash | 2019 Winner

Priya Prakash is a 29-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. 

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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.

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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 28.4 million actions since 2009. Today, these actions, in combination with high-level advocacy work, have led to over $35.4 billion being distributed to our partners around the world, impacting 1.09 billion lives in the fight to end extreme poverty. 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 five (5) finalists will be selected on or around February 24th, 2023 and will be required to submit three (3) letters of recommendation. If applying for the Prize, you should have your letters of recommendation ready for submission. Additional supplemental information might also be requested of finalists.

If selected as one of the 5 finalists, you will be judged by a panel of representatives from Global Citizen, Cisco, and esteemed activists and leaders in the international development field.

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 four parts: (1) About You: Personal and Organization Information, (2) Pitch (3) Description of how your work aligns with the Judging Criteria (4) 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 and you will describe in 250 words or less, how you have achieved each one of the Prize’s criteria.

And for the fourth 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 December 7th, 2022 9:00amPT and close on Friday, January 20th, 2023 at 5:00 PM PT.

When will I find out if I have been selected?

Up to 5 finalists will be notified on or around February 24rd, 2023.

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

If you are selected as one of the 5 finalists you will be contacted on or around  February 24th, 2023 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 finalists. 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 finalist, you will be provided with instructions on how to submit your letters of recommendation and supplemental information.

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.

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.