UN Foundation Honors Global Changemakers at ‘We the Peoples’ Awards Ceremony

The Hon. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Forest Whitaker, Founder & CEO of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative among 2022 awardees

New York City

November 3, 2022


Megan Rabbitt

The United Nations Foundation announced today the recipients of its annual Global Leadership Awards, which recognize extraordinary individuals and organizations whose work embodies the values and purposes of the UN: to create a safer, healthier, and fairer world for everyone, everywhere.

The 2022 awardees are: The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates Group; Forest Whitaker, Founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative and SDG Advocate; Mia Kami, artist, storyteller, and climate justice activist; the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and Peace on Purpose | lululemon.

“As we gather this year amid a series of complex global crises, I’m reminded of an unassailable truth: our progress is a choice,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the UN Foundation. “The leaders, changemakers, and organizations we are recognizing tonight are choosing progress every day, and reminding us that there is power in cooperation. It is our tremendous honor to recognize them tonight and celebrate their tireless efforts toward building a better and fairer world for all.”

The Awards were presented at We the Peoples, a signature event named for the inspiring opening words of the UN Charter and held at Gotham Hall in New York City. As the UN Foundation marks its 25th Anniversary this year, We the Peoples also celebrated the extraordinary vision and generosity of Founder and Chairman Ted Turner, who established the Foundation to provide a pathway for partners to support the United Nations’ lifesaving work and vital mission.

The 2022 honorees were recognized for wide-ranging work to drive progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we approach the halfway point to their 2030 deadline, raise climate ambition, and reimagine multilateral cooperation to deliver on the promise of the UN Charter and SDGs for everyone, everywhere.

Champion for Global Change

  • The Honorable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates Group
    In recognition of her exemplary leadership in fighting for a just, equitable, and sustainable world, Prime Minister Mia Mottley was presented with the 2022 Champion for Global Change award by Elizabeth Cousens, UN Foundation President and CEO.

SDG Vanguard Awards

  • Forest Whitaker, Founder & CEO of Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative and SDG Advocate
    In recognition of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative’s work helping some 1.3 million children – including former child soldiers – cope with trauma and learn to thrive in their communities, Mr. Forest Whitaker received the SDG Vanguard Award. The Award was presented by Hans Vestberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Verizon and UN Foundation Board member, to Khadija Mayman, Youth Peacemaker for the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, who accepted the Award on behalf of Mr. Whitaker.
  • Mia Kami, Artist, Storyteller, and Climate Justice Activist
    In recognition of her work bridging art and action to protect the world’s oceans, Mia Kami was presented with the SDG Vanguard Award by the President of the UN General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi. Mia is a singer-songwriter from Fiji who channels her passion for climate action, Indigenous rights, and gender equality through a unique blend of musical performance and storytelling.

In addition to the exceptional individuals recognized with the Global Champion for Change and SDG Vanguard Awards, each year the UN Foundation also honors the compassion, courage, and determination of UN frontline workers with the UN Heroes Award.

  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
    In recognition of the courage demonstrated by UNFPA on the frontlines of the fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide, the organization received the 2022 UN Heroes Award. Dr. Natalia Kanem, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA, accepted the Award, which was presented by Mark Malloch-Brown, President of Open Society Foundations and UN Foundation Board member.

This year, the inaugural Goal 17 Innovation in Partnership Award was presented to recognize creative, cross-sector partnerships that are driving progress forward.

  • Peace on Purpose
    In recognition of the program’s support to UN development and humanitarian workers, the Award was presented to Peace on Purpose | lululemon by Vice Chair of the UN Foundation Board of Directors and Master of University College Oxford, Baroness Valerie Amos. Peace on Purpose provides tools for staff to care for their mental and physical well-being so they can effectively care for others. The award was accepted by Esther Speck, Senior Vice President of Sustainable Business & Impact and Nikki Neuburger, Chief Brand Officer at lululemon.

Photos will be available on the UN Foundation’s Flickr following the event’s conclusion.

About the United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation is a strategic partner for the United Nations that helps mobilize ideas, people, and resources to drive global progress and tackle humanity’s most pressing challenges. We focus on issues at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and engage citizens and changemakers who seek action. Founded in 1998 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner, the UN Foundation works with philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual and civil society partners around the world.