Refugees International’s Advocacy Awards

The annual Advocacy Awards is a celebration to honor individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment to humanitarian action and the promotion of human rights.

This year’s virtual event highlighted leaders who are furthering gender equality and improving conditions for displaced women and girls worldwide.


Nadia’s Initiative, 2021 McCall-Pierpaoli Award

Dr. Amani Ballour, 2021 Exceptional Service Award


Nadia Murad, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Nadia Murad is a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence and recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. Nadia is the President and Chairwoman of Nadia’s Initiative, which actively works to persuade governments and international organizations to support the sustainable redevelopment of the Yazidi homeland, as well as survivors of sexual violence globally.

Dr. Amani Ballour, 2020 Raoul Wallenberg Prize Laureate and Syria’s “Cave Doctor”

Amani Ballour is a Syrian resident pediatrician who received the distinguished 2020 Raoul Wallenberg prize for her courage and humanitarian work as a doctor in a secret, underground hospital nicknamed “The Cave” during the siege of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus. Her story is featured in the Oscar-nominated National Geographic documentary The Cave.

Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations

Melissa Fleming is Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications at the United Nations. Ms. Fleming previously served the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) as its Head of Global Communications and Spokesperson for the High Commissioner. She is author of the book, A Hope More Powerful than the Sea, and host of the award-winning podcast, Awake at Night.

Emi Mahmoud, World Poetry Slam Champion and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Emi Mahmoud is a two-time World Champion Poet, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and was named one of BBC’s 100 Most Inspirational Women. She co-founded a Sickle Cell research initiative at age 19 lauded for its human-centric approach to building the advocacy network and public health apparatus of a historically marginalized community.

And a Special Guest Appearance from UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie!

Thank you to our generous sponsors.

Vanguard Circle

Elizabeth and Michael Galvin     

Maureen White and Steven Rattner       


Jan Weil and Amos Avgar            

Katherine and David Bradley

Nina and Dino Saglimbeni


Frederica and George Valanos       

 Irfan Kathwari Foundation 





Joy Lian Alferness and Jonathan Alferness        

Sarah Hogate Bacon      

Max Greenberg              

Vaithehi Muttulingam and Bala Cumaresan        

Catherine Graham and Eric Schwartz     

Cheryl Feigenson and Jeffrey Tindell      

Alexia and Roderick von Lipsey, UBS Private Wealth Management           

Eileen Shields-West and Robin West 


Mary and Robert Haft

Diane and Michael Hawkins

Darya and Vali Nasr       

Discovery, Inc.   


Anonymous in honor of Rosa Guerrero’s 20 years of service to Refugees International

Lisa Cantu-Parks and Ryan Parks

Marianne Gimon d’Ansembourg and Alessandro d’Ansembourg

Mariella and Michael Trager

Natacha and Anthony Weiss      



Jeff Chansler

Elena Kvochko 

Thank you to our Honorary Committee for their leadership on issues impacting displaced people worldwide.

Congresswoman Grace Meng

Senator Jeff Merkley

Congressman Seth Moulton

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Senator Christopher S. Murphy

Representative Joe Neguse

Representative Ilhan Omar

Senator Alex Padilla

Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard

Representative Jan Schakowsky

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Representative Albio Sires

Senator Chris Van Hollen

Senator Mark R. Warner

Senator Ben Cardin

Senator Bob Casey

Representative Judy Chu

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro

The Honorable Debbie Dingell

Representative Sara Jacobs

Representative Pramila Jayapal

Representative Ro Khanna

Senator Amy Klobuchar

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Representative Zoe Lofgren

Senator Edward J. Markey

Representative James P. McGovern

Senator Bob Menendez