Leadership, inclusion, decisiveness: Ardern receives prestigious Gleitsman award


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is being honoured today with the 2020 Gleitsman International Activist Award, joining the illustrious company of previous recipients including Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.

The Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership award was announced last month, and Ardern is receiving it via a zoom conference today.

The award honours Ardern’s leadership, decisive action, and commitment to reformative and inclusive policies.

It comes with US$150,000 ($212,000) which Ardern has put towards a scholarship for a New Zealand student at Harvard Kennedy School.

Center for Public Leadership director and practice of public leadership professor Wendy R Sherman said Ardern had wielded a “steady and swift hand, an open mind, and a keen reflection of her entire community in meeting challenges of terror, earthquakes and now Covid-19”.

“We are thrilled that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will accept this year’s award.

“The Prime Minister reminds all of us that strength, compassion, science, clear communications, humility and activism go hand in hand to create positive results.”

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister previously said: “Her normal practice is to decline awards but in this instance we were able to convert it into a scholarship for a New Zealander to go to Harvard.”

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