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Hilda Heine

Global Leadership Awards, 2024

president of the republic of the marshall islands hilda heine 2024 global leadership awards honoree
Republic of the Marshall Islands

Focus Areas

Climate Action
Governance & Policy Reform

President Hilda C. Heine, Ed.D., was the first woman to be selected as president of the Marshall Islands, serving in this capacity from 2016-2020 and re-elected as Head of State following the November 2023 general election.She is also the first Marshallese to earn a doctorate degree and the first to be re-elected as President of the Marshall Islands.

In addition to being a crusader for gender equality and women empowerment, she’s also a strong advocate for education, climate justice and human rights.

She previously served as Minister of Education from 2012-2015. Prior to entering politics, President Heine worked as a classroom teacher, school counselor, college president, and Secretary of Education.  

She has also served as an advisor to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and under her leadership, the Marshall Islands became the first country to submit new, binding climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement. “Although vulnerable countries like mine will be hit first and hit hardest by the impacts of rising global temperatures, we do not see ourselves as victims. We believe in leading from the front.”  

President Heine is a crusader for women’s rights and currently serves as an advisor to the Women United Together Marshall Islands, a non-governmental organization that she co-founded in 1987.