April 2, 2014

SIPA's annual Global Leadership Awards honor individuals who, through their work in public policy and administration, have made innovative or otherwise extraordinary contributions to the global public good.

This year’s honorees, Paul Polman, Judith Rodin, and Joan Spero MIA ’68, have been selected for their contributions, in particular, in the area of economic development and sustainability. Each exemplifies the important connection between the study and practice of policymaking, as well as the values and qualities that SIPA strives to instill in its students.

Proceeds raised via the annual awards ceremony provide critical fellowship support for the next generation of global citizens and public policy leaders. This year’s 14th annual dinner will be held Wednesday, April 2, at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

Two students who exemplify the qualities and achievements that SIPA seeks to embody will also speak: Jessi Jou Tseng MPA ’14 and  Joe Lemaron Sadallah MIA ’15.

About the honorees:

Paul Polman has been chief executive officer of Unilever since January 1, 2009. Under his leadership the company has set out an ambitious vision to double its size while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact. Complete bio

Polman is also chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum. He sits on the boards of the UN Global Compact and the Consumer Goods Forum and is a director of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, he was invited to serve on the High Level Panel looking at the Post 2015 Millennium Development Goals and previously acted as co-chairman of the B20 group of companies reporting to the G20 on Food Security. He is also a member of the European Resource Efficiency Platform Working Group chaired by environment commissioner Janez Potocnik. Since 2010, Polman has been a non-executive director of Dow Chemical. More

Tribute video - Paul Polman

Dr. Judith Rodin is the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the world’s leading philanthropic organizations.

Prior to the Rockefeller Foundation, Rodin was the president of the University of Pennsylvania and provost of Yale University. She was the first woman named to lead an Ivy League institution and is the first woman to serve as the Rockefeller Foundation’s president in its 100-year history. Since joining the Foundation in 2005, Dr. Rodin has recalibrated its focus to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Today the Foundation supports and shapes innovations to strengthen resilience to risks and ensure that more people have access to the benefits of globalization. More

Tribute video - Judith Rodin

Dr. Joan E. Spero MIA ’68 is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she researches and writes about international philanthropy and its role in the global system.

From 2009 to 2010, Spero was a visiting scholar at the Foundation Center, where she conducted research on the role of American private foundations in U.S. foreign policy and in the global system. That research culminated in 2010 with the publication titled The Global Role of U.S. Foundations. From 1997 to 2008, Ms. Spero served as president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which makes grants in the performing arts, environmental preservation, medical research and prevention of child abuse. Ms. Spero also served as president of the Duke Farms Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Spero has previously been the U.S. Department of State’s undersecretary for economic, business, and agricultural affairs; executive vice president for corporate affairs and communications at American Express; ambassador to the United Nations for economic and social affairs; and, from 1973 to 1979, an assistant professor at Columbia University. More

Tribute video - Joan Spero