2023 James and Carol Hovey Eisenhower Fellowships Impact Award

2023 Winner

Braimah Sulemana
Ghana 2019

Executive Director
Media Foundation for West Africa

Regional independent journalism startup

Braimah, executive director of the nonprofit Media Foundation for West Africa based in Accra, expanded its mandate by creating “The Fourth Estate,” a center of excellence to mentor future generations of investigative journalists and strengthen government accountability. In two short years, the journalists he recruited have prompted government investigations, compelled judges and politicians to comply with ethics laws, exposed a scandal in fraudulent Covid travel certificates and put officials on notice that their actions are being closely scrutinized.


Women’s health
in Saudi Arabia

Fatimah Alhamlan
Saudi Arabia 2018

Clinical Scientist & Associate Professor King Faisal Specialist Hospital
and Research Center

As a clinical scientist at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Fatimah saw women arrive at the hospital with late-stage cervical cancer and minimal chances of survival. She became an advocate for a national HPV vaccination program for girls and early screening for all Saudi women, founding the nonprofit Rofaida Women’s Health Organization to draw attention to women’s medical issues beyond the standard focus on reproductive health. Last year, the Ministry of Health implemented her recommendation to launch an HPV vaccination program in Saudi schools.

human trafficking

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Jocelle Batapa-Sigue
Philippines 2012

Deputy Minister
Government of Philippines – DICT

As a deputy minister and digital policy consultant for a national senator, Jocelle is a vocal advocate for rural Filipinos. She is chair of the board of the Voice of the Free Foundation, which helps provide provides legal and psychosocial services, shelter, and job-readiness training for victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, forced labor and child abuse. Jocelle created ATLAS, the Anti Trafficking Legal Advocates Society, to help train more than 300 local community leaders, prosecutors and judges about the country’s laws against human trafficking.

Maternal and child healthcare

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Magaly Blas
Peru 2018

Director, Mama River Program
Cayetano Heredia
Peruvian University

A physician and professor of public health at Peru’s Cayetano Heredia University, Magaly directs the Mama River Program that trains community health advocates working in remote areas along the Amazon River to advance newborn and maternal care. In the program’s first year, Mama River workers brought community education videos and safe birth delivery kits to 799 women of childbearing age in 13 rural communities. Since completing her fellowship, Magaly has created a spin-off to her program and worked with the governments of Peru and Colombia to expand the Mama River maternal and child healthcare initiative across the border to Colombia.

Powering the future with offshore wind

Val Cummins

Valerie Cummins
Ireland 2012

Simply Blue Group

As director of Simply Blue Group, a company dedicated to the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals for oceans and seas, Valerie oversees its growing network of floating offshore wind farms. Currently, two 2.3GW farms are deployed in the North Atlantic around Ireland, with plans to develop more. Over a windfarm’s 25-year life span it is estimated to remove from the atmosphere a volume of carbon dioxide equivalent to the volume removed by 10 million mature trees. Valerie co-chaired Future Earth Coasts, a global community of scientists and intergovernmental agencies driving the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and she is a founding editor of the Coastal Atlas of Ireland, an award-winning celebration of Ireland’s marine spaces.

Improving the lives of stroke survivors

Francesca Fedeli
Italy 2014

President and Co-Founder FightTheStroke.org

As an activist for the rights of medical patients and people with disabilities, Francesca is president and co-founder with her husband Roberto of FightTheStroke Foundation, a non-profit that develops innovative adaptations for people with cerebral palsy and survivors of stroke. The Foundation, with its patented motor-rehabilitation platform that combines advanced neuroscience and artificial intelligence, was inspired by the life experience of their son, Mario, who suffered a disabling stroke at birth. Starting from an informal Facebook group of families, FightTheStroke has grown to encompass 1,000 families in Italy and is recognized internationally as a great leap forward in “community-led care.”  In 2017, along with Gaslini Hospital in Genova, Francesca’s foundation opened Italy’s first Center for Neonatal and Pediatric Stroke, which served more than 200 children in its first four years.

Fighting COVID-19 and promoting peace in
the Philippines

Carlito Guansing Galvez
Philippines 2006

Armed Forces of the Philippines

As a career military man, Carlito has battled Islamic State-affiliated separatists, advised the Philippines’ president on peace negotiations, designed the army’s relief effort after Typhoon Ondoy and led the country’s task force on COVID-19. Of note in his majority-Christian country is his role negotiating peace on the impoverished southern island of Mindanao, where Muslims had waged an armed struggle for self-determination since 1968, resulting in more than 150,000 deaths. Under a power-sharing agreement negotiated in 2014, the Philippines government and the Moro Island Liberation Front agreed to cease fighting, leading five years later to the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Protecting the environment and creating opportunities

Raul Gauto
Paraguay 1989

Forestal Sylvis

Raul returned to Paraguay from his fellowship with the new understanding that protecting the environment means protecting the people around it. Applying that knowledge, he helped create the 150,000-acre Mbaracayu Reserve, established a school for girls from the region’s poorest families and advanced  the Fundacion Avina mission to educate Latin American leaders about sustainable development. In 2010 he founded Forestal Sylvis, a corporation that seeks to reduce climate change by planting commercial forests. This has resulted in a better quality of life for 4,000 families around Mbaracayu, producing 450 graduates of the all-girls school there, supporting 200 farmers and their families with a new yerba mate factory and removing an estimated 27 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

Innovative insurance for vulnerable Kenyans

Sumayya Hassan
Kenya 2014

Chief Executive Officer
Takaful Insurance of Africa Ltd

An Arabic word that means “to guarantee each other,” Takaful inspired branded insurance that offers risk-management, savings and investment solutions that adhere to Islamic religious restrictions on interest, gambling and uncertainty. As the first female CEO of Takaful Insurance of Africa, Sumayya’s clients include many livestock farmers, whose hardships, driven by accelerating climate change, include soaring temperatures, lack of water for their herds and droughts that destroy grazing grasslands. Pioneering a unique insurance product that makes use of satellite imagery, Sumayya oversees a program that compensates shepherds before drought-induced losses occur, thereby providing them with the money they need to purchase alternative fodder and water.

Philanthropy that transforms lives

Sangita Jindal
India 2004

Jindal South West Foundation

A philanthropist committed to the transformative power of art, Sangita founded the Jindal Southwest Foundation (JSW) in 1988.  She oversees its social-development projects in the areas of education, health and nutrition, environmental management and heritage preservation, with a focus on empowering rural communities. Various foundation projects have reached more than one million people in 1,000 villages across 14 Indian states. Sangita also publishes Art India magazine, an internationally circulated platform for discussion of contemporary Indian art, and established the Earth Care Awards to incentivize exemplary stewardship of business initiatives that affect climate change.

Digital tools for Arabic literacy

Rama Kayyali
Jordan 2017

Chief Executive Officer / Co-Founder
Little Thinking Minds

“Little Thinking Minds” is the brainchild of Rama, who is on a mission to improve Arabic language learning across the Middle East and North Africa by creating engaging literacy tools that use digital content and technology for children ages 4 to 10. The year of Rama’s fellowship her company had 70,000 users. Today, 450,000 students are registered on its platforms.

Popularizing science
in Brazil

Marcelo Knobel
Brazil 2007


A former president of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas and recipient of Brazil’s top prize for promoting understanding of scientific breakthroughs, Marcelo advances that work through books and articles he has written, and a popular YouTube channel called “Reciprocal Space.” He established the university’s first museum of exploratory science, was president of an affiliated foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship, devised a quota system for underrepresented Black and mixed-race Brazilians and initiated other programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the university’s Sao Paulo campus.

Impact investments that better the world

Ted Levinson
USA 2014

Chief Executive Officer / Founder
Beneficial Returns

After his EF journey took him to India and Indonesia, where he met social entrepreneurs and impact investors, Ted found his life’s calling: Unlocking foundation capital and donor-advised funds so that the world’s leading social entrepreneurs can tackle big challenges with market-based solutions. To date the firm he founded, Beneficial Returns, has loaned more than $9 million to social enterprises in the developing world, with the expectation of loaning $4 million more in 2023. In Baja California, Beneficial Returns loans have financed solar-powered freezers for remote fishing villages. In India they provided emergency credit to a mobile health clinic at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Cameroon they provided capital for small farms to increase their yields while connecting them to major buyers willing to pay a premium for the crops

Green-bonds and women’s empowerment 

Nuru Mugambi
Kenya 2016

Former Director
Kenya Bankers Association

As director of the Kenya Bankers Association, Nuru designed the country’s first green-bond program to support small-and-medium-sized businesses. To date the program has distributed $21 million in microloans to more than 48,000 entrepreneurs. She is a strong advocate of environmentally conscious investing and women’s economic empowerment. In 2020, she started the annual Angaza Awards, a program to showcase the role of African women in the continent’s financial affairs. Angaza in Swahili means “to “enlighten,” and each year the awards go to 10 women chosen for their significant contributions.

Education for rural communities in
South Africa

Sbusisiwe Myeni
South Africa 2016

Chief Executive
Imbeleko Foundation

Sbusisiwe created the Imbeleko Foundation to honor her late sister, providing holistic education and social support for orphaned and vulnerable children in the Valley of a Thousand Hills between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Each year hundreds of children benefit from its sports, cultural and after-school programs. In 2021, Imbeleko added its Digital Academy, based on programming Sbusiswe learned about on her fellowship visits in the U.S. with Girls and Boys Clubs. The Academy annually hosts 250 children in person and uses its digital curriculum to remotely reach an additional 2,000 students in 15 rural communities.

Combatting the global concussion crisis

Chris Nowinski Headshot

Christopher Nowinski
USA 2011

Chief Executive Officer
Center for the Study of
Traumatic Encephalopathy
Boston University

A former defensive tackle at Harvard and World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, Chris co-founded the non-profit Concussion Legacy Foundation, a brain-injury research and prevention group that grew out of his work as CEO of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Forced to retire from wrestling at 24 due to post-concussion syndrome, he went on to write Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis. On a mission to bring worldwide attention to CTE, he convinced the National Institutes of Health to recognize that CTE can be caused by repetitive head impacts. His advocacy led to the soccer practice of heading the ball being banned in the U.S. for players under 11 and a global campaign called “Stop Hitting Kids in the Head” to reform youth sports by eliminating all repetitive head impacts for children under 14. He recently launched the Concussion Legacy Foundation Global Brain Bank, collaborating with scientists in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the U.K. and Canada to study CTE in athletes.

Trauma-informed care
for Malaysians

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Ellisha Othman
Malaysia 2020

Managing Director /
Clinical Psychologist
Thrive Well Sdn Bhd

Ellisha established the nonprofit SOLS Health with the goal of destigmatizing Malaysia’s overburdened and under-resourced mental health care system, focusing on middle-class clients who were ineligible for government-funded services for the indigent. On fellowship she transitioned SOLS into Thrive Well, with the goal of improving existing mental health services by championing “trauma-informed care” and awareness of the importance of adverse childhood experiences. In addition to training clinical psychologists in new approaches, Thrive Well provides approximately 7,000 hours of therapy to about 200 clients per month and hosts a monthly radio program that educates the public on vital aspects of mental health.

Defending the freedoms of assembly and expression in Sri Lanka

Saliya Pieris
Sri Lanka 2012

President’s Counsel/ Chairman Law Chambers/ Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

As president of the 18,000-member Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Sailya promotes freedom of expression, association and assembly in a country that in 2022 was roiled by protests against the near-bankrupt government for mismanaging the economy. After demonstrations and mass arrests, lawyers led by Saliya’s example stepped up to defend the protesters against arbitrary detentions and the use of excessive force. Citing his “dynamic leadership in the nation’s time of strife,” LMD, Sri Lanka’s leading business magazine, chose Saliya as 2022’s “Sri Lankan of the Year.”

Greening software to combat climate change

Sanjay Podder
India 2017

Managing Director and Global Lead –
Technology, Sustainability
and Innovation

As a director of the global IT company Accenture, Sanjay leads its sustainability and innovation division. In a world where technology is embedded in every aspect of our daily lives, we are generating ever more data, consuming ever more power and increasing the carbon emissions that accelerate global warming. In response, Accenture has adopted “green software” designed to limit energy consumption. In 2021, along with leaders at Microsoft, Github and Thoughtworks, Sanjay co-founded the Green Software Foundation (GSF) to reduce greenhouse emissions by 45 percent by 2030. In June 2022, a 14-country summit organized by Sanjay’s team spread the word about green software to more than 3,850 attendees. At the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference in Cairo in 2022, GSF presented a scale that calculates the carbon intensity of various software applications. One hundred thousand Accenture employees have been trained to use it. Sanjay wants to train at least one million practitioners worldwide.      

Internet access for Indonesians

Onno Widodo Purbo
Indonesia 2002

Information Technologist
Independent Contractor

With a passion to democratize Internet access, Onno, who is often described as “Indonesia’s Internet liberator,” has been bringing online capacity to rural Indonesia for more than two decades, using low-cost, parabolic antennae made from repurposed woks and other technologies to amplify Wi-Fi signals. In 2020, he received the Internet Society’s Jonathan B. Postel Service Award. Onno has been instrumental in bringing voice-over-Internet protocol telephone service to Indonesia and sparking the growth of its burgeoning network of Internet cafes. With the help of his wife Lina, Onno hosts an annual two-day workshop that teaches computer skills to more than 200 students a year.

World class business education in India

Uday Salunkhe final

Uday Salunkhe
India 2012

Group Director
WeSchool: Prin L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development
and Research

Uday leads the Welingkar Institute of Management, Development and Research, one of India’s top business schools, known colloquially as “WeSchool.” The institution has held annual research conferences on the future of work and growth strategies for entrepreneurs in a post-pandemic world. In a country defined by islands of prosperity in a sea of poverty, WeSchool students are encouraged to combine entrepreneurship and social responsibility. A 2019 WeSchool-Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) joint venture to develop a delivery system for self-administered contraceptive injections was awarded funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2014, Uday received the Grand Davos Award of the World Communication Forum for his “lifelong dedication to the field of business communication.”

Walks to battle cancer

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Nathan Sivagananathan
Sri Lanka 2015

Co-Founder and Director

Since opening its doors in 2014, the Tellippalai Trail Cancer Hospital in rural northern Sri Lanka has treated more than 250,000 people. The first of its kind in the previously war-torn northern region of the island nation, the hospital was the brainchild of Nathan. He wanted to help patients battling cancer in Sri Lanka and to heal the country after its decades-long civil war. Through his organization, Trail, he led two cross-country fundraising walks, raising millions of dollars. The first was in 2011 to build the Tellippalai Trail Cancer Hospital in the north, and the second was in 2016 for a cancer hospital in the South, scheduled for completion in 2023.

A 21st  century education for 1.5 million students

Vishal Talreja
India 2013

Co-Founder and Trustee
Dream a Dream

In India, a country of 260 million school-age children, Dream a Dream, the nonprofit co-founded by Vishal in 1999, has been transforming the educational ecosystem through its programming, curriculum development, pedagogical innovations and holistic assessments. With strategic partnerships in six Indian states, Dream a Dream has provided social-emotional learning and life-skills training for more than 1.5 million children. Its central mission: Rethink the purpose of education in the 21st century and offset the negative influence of adverse childhood experiences.

Innovative healthcare
in Kenya

Samuel Thenya
Kenya 2008

Founder and Director of Strategy Nairobi Women’s Hospital

As chief executive officer of the Nairobi Women’s Hospital Group, its affiliated Hospital College and Gender Violence Recovery Centre, Samuel’s work was severely challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic. To accommodate patients who feared infection if they entered a hospital, his staff of 1,300 physicians, nurses and assistants became one of the first in the country to make wide use of telemedicine and home delivery of medicines. To date the group has treated more than 3,000 patients with COVID and administered 30,000 rapid antigen and PCR (polymerase-chain-reaction) tests.

244 million meals during COVID-19

Shridhar Venkat
India 2014

Chief Executive Officer
Akshaya Patra Foundation

As chief executive of the 23-year-old Akshaya Patra Foundation, Shridhar runs the world’s largest, non-governmental school lunch program, feeding 1.4 million Indian children every day. Spread across 10 Indian states, the program is credited with decreasing malnutrition and incentivizing attendance at some 11,000 schools. Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, Shridhar leveraged his company’s resources to ensure that the most affected groups were not deprived of food. He retooled his foundation’s 22 kitchens and makeshift facilities to provide 244 million meals to people in need and distributed 1.6 million “essential grocery kits” and 229,000 “family happiness kits,” which, along with the rations, included activity books, toiletries and sanitary pads.

Kathy Richardson
Australia 2014

Executive Director
Our Community

Shona McCarthy
Northern Ireland 2014

Chief Executive
Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Artists and performing arts festivals

Shona and Kathy combine performing arts with a novel assessment tool to assess the professional value of performing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, billed as the world’s largest performing-arts event. Shona leads the charity behind the festival and Kathy leads Our Community, the social enterprise behind Outcomes Engine, the tool the pair uses to assess the career value of performing at Edinburgh Fringe, where the artists provide the production costs and bear the risks. Conceived in 1947 to heal the spirit of war-ravaged Europe, the annual August festival presents more than 50,000 performances by artists from 56 countries. The Outcomes Engine will help determine the value of participating by surveying the artists on the economic, cultural, social and psychological impacts they encounter, tracking such variables as career progression, income, news coverage and reviews.

Camilo Fonseca Velásquez
Colombia 2019

Advisor for Congress, Government
and Public Policy
National Private Company Supervisor 

Mariana Villamizar
Colombia 2014

Director, Public
and Corporate Relations
Grupo Exito


Peace and prosperity through social entrepreneurship

Mariana heads government affairs for Grupo Exito, a department store/grocery chain with more than 2,600 stores in South America. Camilo advised Colombia’s federal government on regulations related to small- and medium- sized companies. In 2014 he co-founded RECON, an online platform for peace initiatives and social innovation. Together they work to identify, inspire, connect and strengthen social entrepreneurship and peace-building opportunities in a country dealing with the consequences of the long-running war between the government, crime syndicates, Far-Left guerillas and Far-Right paramilitary groups.


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