Awards for Excellence

6th Global Thinkers Forum Awards for Excellence

Attended by Kate Winslet, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,

HRH Princess Sumaya of Jordan:


‘Women of Passion and Purpose’

The 6th Global Thinkers Forum (GTF) Awards for Excellence were hosted on December 6 in London in the presence of HE President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet, HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, Minister for Defence, the Rt. HonTobias Ellwood MP, Baroness Sandip Verma and other dignitaries from all over the world, to eight outstanding women who were recognised for their contributions to entrepreneurship, business, women’s empowerment, global thinking, leadership, positive change, African female leadership and lifetime achievement.

The GTF Awards for Excellence go to exceptional individuals who have a proven track record of integrity, accountability and positive change across their nominated category and recognise some of the most intelligent, innovative, accomplished and socially responsible thought leaders.

The theme of this year’s awards was 100 Years: Women of Passion and Purpose and marks the centenary since the success of the Suffragette Movement in the United Kingdom. 

Kate Winslet opened the event with a touching welcoming speech.

With an audience of notable guests including Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society in Jordan; the Rt. Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister for Defence and honouree for Excellence in Bravery in 2017, the Rt. HonBaroness Verma;H.E Ambassador Omar Al Nahar, HRH Queen Sylvia of Buganda, Annabel Karmel MBE, Jonathan Townsend, CEO Prince's Trust International and Yvonne Thompson CBE, the 6th Awards for Excellence were presented to the following eight women, under their respective award categories.

The keynote speaker at the 6th Awards for Excellence was H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the First Elected Female Head of State in Africa (Republic of Liberia) & Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  Her Excellency was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We are right to applaud the women who excel, even in areas we have not expected it. Women are there, and they are challenging, and they are claiming their rights. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Historical barriers like patronage, misogyny and limited access to education are still in place”, commented Johnson-Sirleaf in her opening speech.

HRH Princess Sumaya of Jordan quoted: "When given the opportunity, women in our region and around the world have proven themselves, again and again, to be innovative and creative, resourceful and driven. Gatherings such as this help to build confidence, to celebrate success, and to devise better strategies to achieve incredible outcomes for women and, ultimately, for society as a whole.”

Elizabeth Filippouli Founder & CEO of Global Thinkers Forum said:“There is nothing more gratifying than learning from women of passion and purpose. The women who have been awarded this evening are feisty mavericks and peaceful warriors. The reason why we bring them together is not only to celebrate but to spread the word around those who are unsung heroes.”

The awards continued:

Excellence in Business: Dame Helena Morrissey, Non-Executive Chairman, Legal & General Investment Management and founder 30% Club. “There’s never been a more important time to celebrate thoughtful success and purposeful leadership. We’ve achieved so much in the last 100 years, but we have so much more to do. The Global Thinkers Forum is definitely a force for another century of progress” said Dame Helena whilst accepting her award.

Excellence in Positive Change: Abla ElBadry, Secretary General, Hope Village Society, who commented on the night: “A street child said to me, ‘you know Ma’am, every day I was thinking of suicide and now I am a lawyer and I have lots more to achieve.”

Excellence in Global Thinking: Christine Schulze, Executive Director, Concordia Language Villages.

“I thank Global Thinkers Forum for this significant honour. A global thinker must choose a noble goal for the betterment of society, and then courageously act on that goal in the face of potential challenge or the pursuit of worthy opportunity.”

African Female Leader: Teresa Njoroge, Founder, Clean Start.

“I dedicate this award to millions of vulnerable women and girls across the world, who endure miscarriages of justice. You can rise up from anything and create a new future for yourself. Let’s all do something to right the injustices in our world. Together, we can create second chances”.

Excellence in Entrepreneurship: Annabel Karmel MBE, UK’s Number 1 children’s cookery author and best-selling international author.

It is an absolute honour to be acknowledged by such an established organisation, particularly in a category which includes such accomplished and inspirational leaders.
 I’ve been working in the industry for over 26 years and my mission has never faltered; to raise the standards of baby and children’s diets

Excellence in Leadership: Dr Rama Mani, Founder, Theatre of Transformation Academy.

I am proud to accept this honour hand in hand with the hundreds of ordinary-extraordinary women – and men and youth – I partner with in countries in crisis on all continents. For it is in enacting their testimonies in our Theatre of Transformation – the Women’s Coalition of Palestine, the Hero Women of Congo, the White Helmets of Syria, and especially the CORO slum women of my own city, Mumbai.

Excellence in Women’s Empowerment: Elsa D'Silva, Founder and CEO, Red Dot Foundation.

Award Honourees are nominated by the GTF Advisory Board and selected development committee members, but there is also an open call for nominations of appropriate individuals, companies or NGOs. All nominated entities must have a proven record of high integrity, recognition and can serve as role models for successful leadership, forward thinking and positive change.

An additional Athena40 recognition was given to Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society, for her services to women’s leadership and empowerment. Athena40 was officially launched at UNESCO on International Women’s Day March 8 2018, as a women-led platform promoting the work of innovative women from around the world.

Other notable opinion formers and global thinkers who attended: Doug Wills (Editor Emeritus, London Evening Standard), Patrick Fleming (CEO, Jubilee Sailing Trust), Marc Ventresca (Professor, Saïd Business School), Haifa Al Kaylani (Founder, Arab International Women’s Forum), Chris Gaunt (Chairman, British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey), Haitham Mattar (Senior Advisor, Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage), Tim Willcox (International News Broadcaster, BBC World News), Michael E. Economakis (Executive Chairman, Petros Petropoulos SAIC (Plc), Akinwole Omoboriowo II (Chairman and CEO, Genesis Energy Holdings), Deema Bibi (CEO INJAZ), Elizabeth Campbell (leader, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea), Parminder Vir (CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation) and Valentino Zuchetti (First Soloist, Royal Ballet).

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