The Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) has named social entrepreneur Sasha Chanoff this year’s recipient of the Gleitsman International Activist Award for his tireless work as founder and executive director of RefugePoint, a nonprofit organization that protects and finds lasting solutions for refugees in extreme danger. The award and $125,000 prize, given biennially to a leader who has “improved the quality of life abroad and inspired others to do the same,” will be presented to Chanoff at a ceremony in Cambridge on November 5.
After working in Africa for both the UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration, Chanoff founded RefugePoint in 2005 to help the most vulnerable refugee populations— Congolese, Darfuri, Sudanese Lost Girls, and others—rebuild their lives. To date, RefugePoint has referred more than 19,000 refugees for resettlement to countries worldwide and the organization’s efforts in Nairobi, Kenya have served another 8,000 urban refugees locally.
“Sasha’s transformational leadership in the field of social justice and humanitarianism has been extraordinary. In the worst African refugee crises, RefugePoint has saved the lives of thousands of the most at-risk displaced women and children,” said David Gergen, co-director of the Center for Public Leadership.