Press Release – George Papandreou visits Peace Palace to herald new leadership, 25 May 2022

Press Release – George Papandreou visits Peace Palace to herald new leadership, 25 May 2022

Press Release


Amsterdam, 25 May 2022

George Papandreou visits the Peace Palace on Friday to herald new leadership 

Three bravest female leaders and six young leaders in the running for awards  

Who are the new leaders we need as the world is being turned upside down by conflict and catastrophe? Six young leaders who mostly work for international companies and three female leaders with a strong track record in conflict areas will hear who will receive the awards for courageous and influential leadership on 27 May at the Peace Palace. The why is underlined by George Papandreou with a lecture on new relational leadership; the former Greek prime minister is renowned for the way in which for years he brought together social democratic leaders and their families from around the world on sun-kissed Greek islands.   

Papandreou will be presenting the Mary Chirwa Award to the bravest woman in the world. The winner will receive a check for five thousand dollars and the Oscar-like statue made of golden rain wood, made by the Dutch visual artist Bart Ensing. Mary Chirwa – after whom the award was named – fought corruption for years as a senior government official in Zambia, despite serious threats. The award committee also consists of Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parma (chair), Jeff Furman (formerly of Ben&Jerry’s) and Frans Geraedts (Governance & Integrity).  

The nominees who show courage in the face of adversity:   

Oksana Ivanivna Syroyid is responsible for the communication strategy of the Ukrainian army. In daily life she is an anti-corruption activist and scientist who saw the Russian war of conquest coming long in advance; the fear is that she will end up on Russian death lists. 

Yelena Osipova as a peaceful senior, she stubbornly continued to protest the war in Ukraine in St. Petersburg, despite numerous arrests and hefty fines deducted from her pension and health insurance.  

Shirley (pseudonym) established care related organisations in Myanmar; he/she also organised a series of lessons.


Young guard 

The award for young leaders with influence will go to three of the six finalists who have been assessed by VU Amsterdam for the way in which they can improve the world, using a scientific impact evaluation framework. In the room, the CEOs of their own companies who will listen in on how they will pitch their case to the jury for the Nudge Global Impact Award. 

The young finalists are:  

Sanne Kruid, Peter Akkerman and Sofia Kavlin, employed at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Seedsgamelabs (Sofia), with their proposal for the SerendiCity (the Netherlands and Israel) 

Greta Simonelli, employed at Philips, with a circular economy plan (Italy) 

Timothy Wabukoti, employed at Kickstart International Inc., with the project ‘Zero hunger through irrigating Uganda’s refugees and host communities’ (Uganda) 

Anna Spinelli, employed at Mondadori Libri SpA, with her handbook for fighters against waste (Italy) 

Carlos da Silva Coke, employed at HEINEKEN, will be pitching his programme for CO2 reduction in logistics from brewery to user (from South America, he lives and works in the Netherlands) 

Joël Boele, employed at Black Jaguar Foundation, with the proposal to restore the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor in Brazil, working with local landowners 


The winners will be handed their prize by Professor Dr. Philipp Pattberg, Head of Department, Environmental Policy Analysis at Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University, chair of the jury.   

Improving the world 

The Nudge Global Impact Award is named after the social enterprise Nudge, founded in 2010 to ‘educate’ a new generation of leaders through development processes and other formative meetings. Founder and Director Jan van Betten: “This new generation of young leaders is making the world a better place, starting with their own businesses. Because now that as individuals we are clashing with one another, whether or not in our bubbles, we need businesses all the more. The new guard of leaders do not lack the moral and real awareness of the environmental dangers, but there is still much to be gained in terms of relationships and influence. Fortunately, their CEOs enable them to learn this through our personal development programme Nudge Global Impact Challenge.” 

The eight-month programme will conclude this week in Zeist; a new programme with new participants will start after the summer (the 13th edition), in which, along with sixty young leaders, thirty ‘wild cards’ from around the world will participate. These are also aged 23 – 33 and have a focus on sustainability, but are not employed by the sixty companies; they are being sponsored based on excellent test results. Permanent partners include: Banksia Foundation, Global Shapers (youth wing of WEF), Wageningen University and Research and VU Amsterdam. 

In addition, companies such as HEINEKEN, Ferrero, Gruppo Mondadori, Pon and Philips are participating, along with various government agencies, including the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Van Betten: “I also think this education is needed for our government institutions, where the influence of new relational leadership is at least as important; our conflicted and fragmented society needs this more than ever.”  


Note for editors:  


Photos: the awards made from 200-year-old olive wood (Nudge Impact Awards) and golden rain wood (Mary Chirwa Award); free of rights. 

Nudge Logo

Mary Chirwa Award Logo

Nudge Global Impact Award Logo

Requests for interviews and features are welcome. 


Contact: Ilse Lettinga, [email protected], +31 6 8 32 32 666.  

if not available please contact: Joke Padmos, [email protected], +31 6 11 75 75 51. 

For the portraits of the nominees, composition of juries and follow-up activities, see:

Mary Chirwa Award

Nudge Global Impact Award  

For the Dutch version of this press release, please click here.