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Vital Voices Announces Its Lineup of Global Changemakers to Be Honored at the 22nd Annual Global Leadership Awards
Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton to deliver the keynote address at The John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 25, 2023 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — October 5, 2023 — Vital Voices Global Partnership proudly announces its honoree lineup for the 22nd Annual Global Leadership Awards on October 25, 2023 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 pm ET.

The honorees are women leaders who have set precedents and who exhibit the embodiment of our 2023 theme, the Power of Possible, through their unwavering commitment to advancing gender equality and social justice. They are trailblazers who are on the frontlines of creating solutions that build a safer, more sustainable world.

Ava DuVernay has been named the Global Trailblazer Award recipient for her work as a social impact filmmaker who celebrates and explores themes of human rights and racial equity. Climate activist and social entrepreneur Inna Braverman, Gender-based Violence Activist Hellen Lunkuse, Disability Rights Activist Sara Minkara and Sudanese Women’s Rights Activist Enass Muzamel, will be recognized for their steadfast commitment to solving the world’s greatest challenges surrounding climate, gender-based violence, and disability rights.

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Vital Voices co-founder, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

“In this moment of extraordinary challenges threatening women’s rights and equality, we cannot rely on conventional leadership and traditional thinking. In my 26 years of service with Vital Voices, I have seen that communities thrive when women lead the work of social justice, systemic change, and global progress toward gender equity—particularly through locally sourced solutions. The trailblazing women receiving this year’s Global Leadership Award exemplify this and it is our honor to celebrate them,” said Sec. Clinton, who co-founded Vital Voices with the late Secretary Madeleine Albright in 1997.

In addition to Secretary Clinton’s keynote address, Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, Author of Unmasking AI and star of the Netflix documentary Coded Bias Dr. Joy Buolamwini, Philanthropist and Fashion Designer Diane von Furstenberg, Actress & Activist Ashley Judd,  NBCUniversal’s Chief Content Officer Donna Langley, D.B.E., Co-anchor of PBS NewsHour Amna Nawaz, and Hall of Fame Inducted Marketing Executive, Author, and Entrepreneur Bozoma Saint John are also confirmed to give remarks.

“This year we’re recognizing women leaders who are leading through challenging times with seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them, yet they are succeeding by stepping into the power of who they are and the power of being open to possibility. They are challenging the status quo, disrupting systems, and defying traditional notions of leadership,” said Vital Voices Co-founder, President & CEO Alyse Nelson. “These women leaders are fighting revolutions, advocating for disability rights, reshaping industries and old ways of thinking, and providing lifesaving assistance to women and girls experiencing violence in extreme conflict areas,” said Nelson.

The 22nd Annual Global Leadership Awards, Vital Voices’ largest fundraising event of the year, will stream live before an audience of 1,500 attendees and a worldwide audience on Wednesday, October 25 at 7:30pm ET from the Eisenhower Theater at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition, Vital Voices will premiere its 2023 honoree films created through its new female filmmakers initiative, DirectHers Cut. DirectHers Cut is Vital Voices’ latest move to scale leadership opportunities for women globally by harnessing the talents of women producers and directors to drive the storytelling narrative of the women leaders being honored. This year’s honoree films were produced by members of the Queen Collective, a program supporting multicultural women and non-binary directors developed in partnership with Procter & Gamble, Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit Entertainment.

Learn more about the Global Leadership Awards Honorees below:  

Inna Braverman
Inna Braverman, founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power, is a technology entrepreneur who is harnessing ocean wave power to produce clean energy and fight climate change.

Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay will receive the 2023 Global Trailblazer Award for her work as a social impact filmmaker who celebrates and explores themes of human rights and racial equity through cinema, using her art as activism to advance American society–and the world.

Hellen Lunkuse
Hellen Lunkuse is a fearless human rights defender who supports survivors of gender-based violence and advocates for marginalized communities in Uganda. She is founder of the Rape Hurts Foundation, a non-profit serving women, girls, and marginalized people in Uganda.

Sara Minkara
Sara Minkara, who went blind at the age of 7, is a pioneering advocate for authentic inclusion and the rights of people with disabilities. She is our nation’s highest-ranking disabled diplomat as a presidential appointee serving in the role of Special Advisor on International Disability Rights, Human Rights and Labor at the US State Department.

Enass  Muzamel
Enass Muzamel is a pro-democracy activist and women’s rights advocate who is leading critical relief efforts to support women and girls affected by gender-based violence and the ongoing war in Sudan where reports of genocide currently taking place have recently arisen.

To attend and for more information are available here. To cover the event, the media can REGISTER FOR PRESS CREDENTIALS. Interviews will be available upon request at

#vitalvoices #powerofpossible #globalleadershipawards


Markette Sheppard

Jacqueline Lara

Nicolla Hewitt

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Now celebrating 26 years, Vital Voices Global Partnership has directly invested in more than 20,000 women leaders across 185 countries and territories since its inception in 1997. Driven by the universal truth that women are the key to progress in their communities and nations cannot move forward without women in leadership positions, Vital Voices has provided early support for leaders who went on to become Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, U.S. Youth Poet Laureates, prime ministers, award-winning innovators, pioneering human rights defenders, and breakthrough social entrepreneurs, including Amanda Gorman and Malala Yousafzai. In an effort to advance and expand this work, in 2022 Vital Voices opened the doors to the world’s first global embassy for women, the Vital Voices Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership. It is a first-of-its-kind space that allows for convening, innovation, planning, and action—all in the pursuit of serving women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges.

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