Buffett Award for Emerging Global Leaders

The annual $10,000 Buffett Award recognizes outstanding leadership in a person early in their career working in the areas of global health, social or economic development, human rights, climate change, food security, or other issues of global significance. By recognizing excellence early in someone’s career, the Buffett Award helps to encourage individuals to continue to make a difference.

The Emerging Global Leader is invited to Northwestern to give a public address to the Northwestern community and receive their award.

2018 Buffett Award winner: Fred Swaniker

swaniker2.jpgCongratulations to Fred Swaniker, the winner of the 2018 Buffett Award. Swaniker is the founder of the African Leadership Academy (ALA) and the African Leadership University (ALU).

His experiences living in African states with both good and bad leaders is why he believes teaching good leadership in Africa is so important, and it inspired him to develop programs that help train and educate leaders for Africa’s future.

“I’ve found that leaders I’ve most admired in history had three key traits: a deep commitment and passion for their work, a willingness to continuously learn and grow through seeking knowledge and advice from others, and above all, humility,” he says. “Effective leadership begins with having a mindset of service and an authentic commitment to solving any of the many pressing global challenges we face today.”

Swaniker will be on campus to accept the award on April 25

Nominate for the 2019 Buffett Award 

The nomination period for the 2019 Buffett Award is now open! Characteristics of an ideal nominee:

  • Demonstrated success
  • Respectful, inclusive, community-based practices
  • Innovative approach
  • Has a sustainable vision
  • Ideas that are relevant to multiple places
  • Visit will benefit Northwestern community

The deadline for nominations is April 30. Learn more and nominate an outstanding leader now.

2018 Nominees

  • Achraf Aouadi, founder of Tunisian watchdog organization I WATCH, which organizes young people around transparency, good governance, and anti-corruption in the wake of the 2011 revolution.
  • Saskia Niño de Rivera, founder of Reinserta, a nonprofit that supports Mexico's invisible, imprisoned populations
  • Fred Swaniker, founder of several organizations dedicated to developing a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders
  • Lusanda Worsley, founder and CEO of Empire Innovations Agency, a South African creative firm committed to developing African creative talent through storytelling


Each year, undergraduate affiliates are invited to vote. Not yet an affiliate? Complete the brief application

Questions about the Buffett Award can be sent to Emory.ErkerLynch@northwestern.edu.