Groundbreaker: Outstanding individuals who have demonstrated revolutionary leadership in the development, delivery and implementation of a novel SDG program approach with a proven and considerable impact.
To nominate an outstanding individual for the Groundbreaker Award Category please prepare a response to each section of the nomination form. All sections and questions are mandatory, except for those marked as ‘optional’. Only complete applications will be considered by the selection committee. Please note that the strongest entries will offer clear supporting evidence, such as photos and videos and endorsements from participants in your initiative.
This form has been prepared to assist applicants to prepare their application before submitting via the online application form if needed. For applicants encountering challenges with access to the internet, this form can be completed and sent in by post. Please see the instructions at the end if you need to submit a postal application.
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Offline applications may be submitted by applicants in cases where access to the online application form is not accessible to individuals experiencing bandwidth limitations.
To submit an offline nomination please send all documentation by post to the address below before the nomination deadline. Only nominations which are postmarked on or before the nomination deadline will be considered by the selection committee. Please note that all postal fees are the responsibility of the applicant.
Nomination Deadline: 1 May 2022, with the application portal closing at 23:59 EST.
Nomination Mailing Address:
United Nations SDG Action Campaign
SDG Action Awards
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn, Germany
Dr. Danny Sriskandarajah became Chief Executive of Oxfam GB in 2019. Prior to that, he led CIVICUS – the global alliance of civil society organisations. He had previously been Director General of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Interim Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, and held various posts at the Institute for Public Policy Research. From 2018 to 2019, he was a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, co-chaired by Jack Ma and Melinda Gates, and from 2015 to 2016, a member of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Finance.
Ms. Ulrika Modéer officially began her role on 20 August 2018 as UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy. In this role she leads the organization in nurturing and growing key relationships with Member States, and new and emerging partners, as well as lead UNDP’s communications and advocacy, as it works to realize the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Modéer previously served as Sweden’s State Secretary for International Development Cooperation and Climate and has been instrumental in reshaping the country’s international development cooperation to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Ms. Modéer holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Liv Tørres is the Director of Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies at the Center on International Cooperation of New York University. She is the former Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center and former Secretary General of Norwegian People’s Aid. Previously, she served as a Political Advisor at Norway’s Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion, Research Director at Fafo, Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, and Senior Advisor at the Research Council of Norway. Liv holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oslo and is a visiting professor at Wits University in South Africa.
Charles Muchiri is an immersive content creator at BlackRhinoVR based in Nairobi, Kenya. He has worked with both 2-dimentional and 3-dimensional mediums and he believes that immersive platforms are truly the future of tech and human synergy. As a young African immersive storyteller, his mission is to advocate for tech-based storytelling platforms and he is incredibly excited to see what the future holds for the storytellers of our time, especially in Africa.
Thamyra Thâmara is a journalist, screenwriter, producer of 360º narratives and a doctoral student in Social Communication at Universidade Federal Fluminense, where she develops research on black identities. Thamyra is the founder of GatoMÍDIA, a media and technology learning network for young black people and people from local communities. In addition, she directed and scripted the short films: ‘Bença, Vó’, ‘Minha Vida é Aqui’, ‘Black Women in Politics’ and ‘Decolonize Your Eyes,’ which was screened at the SDG Action Zone in 2019 as part of the MYWorld 360º selection.
Lysa John is passionate about governance, accountability and social justice and has spent a large part of her work coordinating large-scale civil society campaigns, including ‘Wada Na Todo Abhiyan’ (Don’t Break the Promise campaign, India) and the Global Call to Action against Poverty. Her past roles include serving as Head of Outreach for the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda and Global Campaign Director for Save the Children International. Lysa has authored several reports, including assessments on the role and influence of emerging powers.
Giorgio Marrapodi is the Director General for Development and Cooperation with Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is currently a member of the UN Advisory Board for the preparation of the Food Systems Summit. A career diplomat with 33 years of experience, he previously served as Ambassador to Austria from 2013 to 2017; and as Director for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2010 to 2013. His previous assignment was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Italian Embassy to Spain. Prior to Madrid he was assigned to the Permanent Mission of Italy to the European Union in Brussels.
Dia Mirza is an award-winning Actor, Producer, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals. As a champion of nature, Dia Mirza dons many a hat with élan and ease. She has become the voice of environmental and wildlife conservation in the country and a torchbearer for causes related to nature.
Uğur Gallenkuş is a world-renowned digital artist based in Istanbul. He started to develop his art in the wake of the Syrian civil war as a spontaneous reaction to the disturbing image of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean in 2015. His collages address the widening global divide between the privileged and oppressed, taking an unflinching look at the realities that surround us. By traversing the space between wealth and poverty, struggle and comfort, love and grief; Gallenkuş aims to change how we perceive the differences between us.
Gabriela Gandel is an experienced international manager, facilitator, coach and consultant in areas of senior leadership development, team effectiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship, diversity and sustainable organisational transformation. Gabriela spent the last 15 years working as a senior manager or consultant with a mix of not for profit and for profit global organisations including: AIESEC International, Future Considerations, Impact Hub, Oxfam, Carbon Trust, HSBC, KPMG, BP, Cadbury, and TATE. In her current role as Executive Director of the Impact Hub Network, she leads global strategy development and execution, scaling and strategic partnerships development. And with this pursuing her stand of a connected humanity acting as a power for good through impact entrepreneurship.
Husnah Kukundakwe is a 13-year-old para-athlete from Uganda who aims to participate in the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games. As a result of her hard work, Husnah was awarded the 2019 “Most Inspirational Athlete of the Year” by the Uganda Swimming Federation and the 2019 “Most Disciplined Athlete of the Year” by the Uganda National Paralympic Committee. Furthermore, in 2019 Husnah was the youngest competitor to take part in the World Para Swimming Allianz Championship in London. She strives to inspire many persons with disabilities and encourage engagement in parasports. As a role model, Husnah participated in the Allianz for Life Future Sessions and was also featured in the Malala Fund Assembly as one of the Game Changers of 2020.
Architect and urban planner, Stefano Boeri is Professor at Politecnico in Milan and visiting Professor in several international universities. In Shanghai, he is Director of the Future City Lab at Tongji University: a post-doctoral research program which explores the future of contemporary metropolis under the perspectives of biodiversity and urban forestry. In 2018 he was appointed President of Triennale Milano, a major international cultural institute and was Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee for the first World Forum on Urban Forest. In 2019 he presented the Great Green Wall of Cities project, developed with FAO, C40, UN Habitat and other international research organizations, on occasion of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.
Francesca Lavazza is a Board Director of Lavazza Group, a leading Italian player in the coffee industry with operations in over 140 countries worldwide. From 2005 to 2015 Francesca Lavazza has covered the role of Corporate Image Director and managed important projects, such as the Lavazza Calendar and international ADV campaigns. From photography and the visual arts to graphic design by way of architecture – the Lavazza Museum in Turin for example – Francesca has engendered creativity in the company’s communication channel, and as a shareholder, she has the strategic role of overseeing all initiatives across the entire global business.
Georgia Arnold was instrumental in establishing the MTV Staying Alive Foundation (SAF) in 2005, and was appointed Executive Director in 2007. MTV SAF is a United States and United Kingdom-based charity, set up to tell stories to change lives – creating movements with purpose to improve young people’s health and well-being globally. As part of this, Ms. Arnold conceived and created the multi award-winning MTV Shuga – a 360-degree mass-media HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health edutainment campaign with proven impact. Since 2017, Ms. Arnold has been the co-Champion of ‘Fusion’, Viacom’s employee resource group on Cultural Diversity.
Laura Vélez Villa leads B Lab’s program and partnerships to drive business action on the Sustainable Development Goals. B Lab creates standards, policies, and tools for business, and certifies companies—known as B Corps—who are leading the way. Laura joined B Lab’s New York-based Strategic Growth team in 2016, after serving as Executive Director of B Lab’s partner. Prior to B Lab, she led Endeavor Chile’s Search and Selection team and served as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School. Laura graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with a Bachelor’s in Economics and International and Global Studies. She is currently pursuing an M.A. degree in International Business and Policy at Georgetown University.
Since 2014, Khalifa Jassim Al-Kuwari has led the establishment, strategy-setting, partnerships, and funding programs of the Qatar Fund for Development in developing countries. Previously, Mr. Al-Kuwari was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director – Joint Venture and International Business of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). He has been appointed to the boards of leading organisations, including: Harrods, Volkswagen Group, Fairmont Raffles Group, Songbird Real Estate, Qatar Exchange, Katara Hospitality, and Mowasalat. He holds an Executive MBA in Business Administration from the London Business School, an MBA in Accounting from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Qatar University. He graduated from the Leadership Development Program at Harvard Business School and Qatar Leadership Center.
Activist, lecturer and passionate supporter of social innovation, Jonathan Herzfeld is convinced that changing the world must be fun. He volunteers at the Cealivi Foundation, an organization that facilitates opportunities for people with blindness, and he is a Board Member of the Julieta Foundation, an organization that helps abandoned dogs find a home. He studied business and administration at Universidad Diego Portales and is Innovation Director at Universidad Hebrea Jerusalem in Chile. BMW Foundation recognized him as a Responsible Leader in 2018 for his work promoting social innovation in Latin America and around the world. He has spoken at the SDG Global Festival of Action, SXSW, Colaboramerica, and Encuentro+B, encouraging people to become change-makers.
Flora Bitancourt is a Social Entrepreneur, founder and co-president of Impact Beyond – a consultancy specialized in social business, leader of Socialab Brazil, and member of the Global Shaper Community – a World Economic Forum initiative. Flora is an activist for human rights and works for different impact business projects, building a world with more equality and diversity.
Aya Yoshida is a diplomat who is currently in charge of facilitating international cooperation for sustainable development. Her main issues of coverage include: domestic and global implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, disaster and risk reduction, education, gender, as well as innovative finance for development. Ms. Yoshida previously served as the Head of the Asia Pacific and Partnership Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris between 2016 and 2019, working to enhance the relationship between the IEA and growing economies in Asia, including India, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. She has also served as a senior negotiator for climate change and worked for the adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Dr. Dietrich is BMZ Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and leads BMZ Directorate with a programmatic focus on the 2030 Agenda, poverty, inequality, democracy, rule of law, governance, human rights, gender equality and education. Before this role, he was responsible for energy, biodiversity, water, urban development and mobility, and headed the Divisions of “Southern Africa” and “Policy issues of bilateral development cooperation”. Dr. Dietrich studied agricultural science at Munich and Berlin Technical University. He holds a doctorate in agricultural economics from Munich Technical University.
Felix Zimmermann coordinates the OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom), a global platform that helps development organisations improve their communications strategies and campaigns. In this role, Felix facilitates peer-learning events and workshops for communicators. He also runs the SDG Communicator blog and has just published DevCom’s new Toolkit for Sustainable Development Communicators. Felix has 20 years of experience in brokering global dialogue and learning on foreign aid, development finance and education policy. Besides various OECD roles, his career includes assignments with UNESCO and IFAD. Felix holds a Masters in International and European Law from the Free University of Brussels, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney and Humboldt University in Berlin.