Recognising exceptional leadership shown by young activists in defending, renewing and promoting democracy
Launched by the Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) and the Democracy and Culture Foundation (DCF), the Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize is awarded to a young leader aged between 18 and 30 and presented each year at the Athens Democracy Forum. The aim is to recognise exceptional leadership and inspire more young people to commit to the advancement of democracy. An independent judging panel reviews the applications and selects the award recipient.
“I remain a committed believer in the value of democracy as a catalyst for better governance, greater security, and human development. The spread of democracy has been one of the most profound and positive developments that I have witnessed over my career.” – Kofi Annan
The winner receives an award of USD 10,000 and a one-year mentorship with a recognised democracy expert. Each year, the winner will have the opportunity to speak at the forthcoming Athens Democracy Forum and officially pass the award to the next recipient.
Call for Nominations 2023
The nomination period for the 2023 Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Award was January 31, 2023, through March 31, 2023. Notification of the awardee will be made by July 2023.
The Athens Democracy Forum (ADF) was founded ten years ago, inspired by Kofi Annan’s work on peace and democracy and his establishment of the United Nations Democracy Fund. In 2017 Kofi Annan delivered the Aristotle Address and the keynote speech at the opening of the Forum.
With the annual endorsement of the UN Secretary-General, the ADF has become the main global event marking the International Day of Democracy. In 2015, it established the “City of Athens Democracy Award”. Throughout his mandate as Secretary-General of the United Nations and later at the head of the Kofi Annan Foundation, Kofi Annan worked to promote democracy, which he called “a catalyst for better governance, greater security, and human development.” He was also a great believer in youth leadership and inclusion. He strived to facilitate the participation of young people in local, national and international decision-making forums.
Democracy, however, is in retreat in many parts of the world, with catastrophic consequences such as the war in Ukraine, the toppling of elected governments in countries in Africa and Asia, and the rise of populist and authoritarian leaders on all continents. Young people have lost faith in the system, and express their disillusionment with the capacity of elections to deliver representative and accountable governments, yet most are committed to positive change.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the aim of the Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize?
The Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize aims to:
- Recognise exceptional intellectual and/or “in action” leadership shown by a young activist in defending, promoting or renewing democracy;
- Support the recipient of the prize, including with a one-year mentorship with a recognised democracy expert or senior leader;
- Inspire young people to commit to the advancement of democracy.
Can I nominate myself?
Nominations must come from an organisation. Nominees must be aged between 18 and 30 at the time of nomination. There are no restrictions in terms of nationality, gender, or occupation.
What is the prize?
The Prize includes a monetary prize of USD 10,000. The award will be presented at the Athens Democracy Forum, and all travel and accommodation expenses linked to the Awardee’s participation in the Forum will be covered by the organizers. Awardees will be invited to take a leading role in organising a panel session on youth and democracy at the following year’s Forum.
What are the criteria for nominating someone?
Nominees must be aged between 18 and 30 at the time of nomination. There are no restrictions in terms of nationality, gender, or occupation. The Selection Committee will consider the following when deciding the winner:
- Impact: The nominee’s actions had a demonstrated outcome, for instance, a change in policy in a given country, the rate of participation in elections, the number of people reached through a specific campaign, the number of users of a specific application, the number of students gaining a wider understanding of the importance of the democratic process, the number of community associations engaged in an educational campaign etc.
- Innovation: The innovative character of these actions.
- Sustainability: Whether the nominee has advanced the cause of democracy and human rights for a sustained period of one-year minimum, and whether her/his actions are sustainable over time and replicable in other contexts;
- Values: The values displayed by the Nominee through her/his actions.
- Benefit: The added value the Award could bring to the nominee in terms of international notoriety and support.