Announcement: Winners of the the 2018 Eliasson Global Leadership Prizes

Oct 17, 2018

Today the Tällberg Foundation announced the winners of the 2018 Eliasson Global Leadership Prizes, that are awarded annually for extraordinary leadership—in any field and any country—that is courageous, optimistic dynamic, rooted in universal values and global in application or in aspiration.

To be honored at ITAM in Mexico City on November 15
New York, NY, USA – October 17, 2018 – Today the Tällberg Foundation announced the winners of the 2018 Eliasson Global Leadership Prizes, that are awarded annually for extraordinary leadership—in any field and any country—that is courageous, optimistic dynamic, rooted in universal values and global in application or in aspiration.

The 2018 laureates:

  • Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; a multi-award winning Pakistani filmmaker, journalist and activist who uses her world-class storytelling skills to focus global audiences on issues that affect marginalized communities with the aim of changing minds and impacting legislation.
  • Rafael Yuste; Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, leading neuroscientist, inspirer of the US Brain Initiative (2013), and a leading advocate to frame cutting edge neuroscience and AI research within an ethical context.
  • Imam Omar Kobine Layama, president of the Central African Islamic Community; Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the Archbishop of Bangui; and Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, president of the Evangelical Alliance of the Central African Republic; founders of the Plateforme des Confessions Religieuses de Centrafrique (PCRC) who seek peace, reconciliation and social cohesion amidst the violence that has plagued their country and region.

“These leaders, working in very different contexts, share a common commitment: to make the world less what it is and at least a little more like what it should be,” said Alan Stoga, Tällberg Foundation chairman. “Taken together, we view this as an incredibly positive and powerful statement about the kinds of leadership we need in the world today,” he continued.

Winners of the Eliasson Global Leadership Prize, originated in 2005 and given in its current form since 2014, are nominated at large through an open, online process and are ultimately selected by a jury of people who themselves are accomplished leaders from a range of countries and disciplines. Each of the three prizes includes a $50,000 honorarium. The Eliasson prizes are generously supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

“The Eliasson Global Leadership Prize identifies and honors leaders, whose creative, bold and principled leadership is desperately needed today”, said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the SNF.

This year’s winners will be honored at a public colloquium in Mexico City that is being co-sponsored by the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), Mexico’s leading non-profit private research university. “We are delighted to welcome these amazing individuals to Mexico, and look forward to the opportunity for our students, faculty and alumni to engage with and learn from them,” said ITAM’s rector, Arturo Fernández.

Jury motivations

The winners were chosen from among 825 nominees from 130 countries and dozens of different occupations, positions and causes. The jury’s selections reflected the following considerations:

  • Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, filmmaker; because of her increasingly insistent and effective leadership not just in changing minds, but in addressing the facts that create outcomes that should be unacceptable in the 21st century.
  • Rafael Yuste, neuroscientist; because of his vision and leadership in contributing to the pursuit of new understanding of how the brain works, as well as his deep commitment to promoting a global conversation about the ethical implications of rapidly accelerating neuro-technology.
  • Imam Omar Kobine Layama, Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Pastor Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou; because they are demonstrating that deeply rooted moral leadership can overcome the divisions of tribe, ethnicity and religious identification in the name of our common humanity.

About the Tällberg Foundation
The Tällberg Foundation, with offices in Stockholm and New York, aims to provoke people to think—and therefore act—differently about the global issues that are shaping their present and their future. For more information, contact

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About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation [(SNF)(] is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $2.6 billion, through more than 4,000 grants to nonprofit organizations in 124 nations around the world.

The SNF funds organizations and projects, worldwide, that aim to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact, for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.

Learn more at

About ITAM
ITAM is a private, secular, non-profit Mexican institution of higher education. Its mission is to contribute to the individual’s comprehensive education and to develop a freer, more just, and prosperous society. ITAM offers thirteen undergraduate programs, eleven graduate programs and a full time Ph.D. in Economics.

ITAM’s goal is to prepare and educate men and women that are capable of acting in an informed, rational, responsible, critical way, and committed to creating, managing, and shaping public opinion, institutions, as well as further works.

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Press release in English (PDF)
Press release in Spanish (PDF)
Press release in French (PDF)

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