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. Past honorees have included Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Yunus, activists such as Dr. Jaya Arunachalam and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, and, most recently, Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director of RefugePoint.

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.


Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman, Founders, Elman Peace and Human Rights Center

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, Charmain Gooch, and Simon Taylor, Founders, Global Witness 

Fazle Abed, Jaya Arunachalam, Roman Imboden, and Roy Prosterman, Leaders in the Struggle Against Poverty 

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 

Past Award Videos

2009 Gleitsman International Activist Award (Part 3)

Kare Tse, founder of International Bridges to Justice, is presented the honor by her former professor at Harvard, Christine Letts, and shares thoughts and anecdotes from her amazing experiences with starting her social change organization.

2005 Gleitsman International Activist Award

This year's first honoree is Han Dongfang, with remarks from Robin Munro and Elizabeth Tang.

2005 Gleitsman International Activist Award

This year's second group of honorees come from Global Witness: Patrick Alley, Charmian Gooch, and Simon Taylor.

1999 Gleitsman International Activist Award

This year's honorees were Mohmoud Abbas, Yossi Beilin, Bassem Eid, Yitzhak Frankenthal, Galia Golan, Faisal Husseini, Terje Rod Larsen and Mona Juul, Ahmed …

1993 Gleitsman International Activist Award

This year's honoree was Nelson Mandela (posthumously Helen Joesph and Petra Kelly), with guest speaker Walter Sisulu.