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The Concordia 2021 Leadership Award recipients are announced

The Concordia Leadership Award recognizes global leaders within the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who inspire others through their ability to turn vision into impact.

The Concordia Leadership Council today announces the three recipients of the 2021 Leadership Award: Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States (public sector); Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group (private sector); and, Mónica Ramírez, Founder & President of Justice for Migrant Women (nonprofit sector). 

The Concordia Leadership Award recognizes global leaders within the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who inspire others through their ability to turn vision into impact. Voted on by a subcommittee of the Concordia Leadership Council, recipients possess a commitment to catalyzing positive social and economic change while promoting effective public-private collaboration to create a more sustainable future. Past recipients include: Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart; Christiana Figueres, Founder of Global Optimism; António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and, Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus. 

Concordia’s Leadership Award Committee is chaired by Anita McBride, Concordia Leadership Council Member and Former Assistant to President George W. Bush & Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush, who commented: “The Leadership Award Committee has undertaken a rigorous nomination and selection process. I am honored to chair this committee and I’m delighted to announce three distinguished individuals as this year’s recipients. Each, in their own right, showcases exemplary leadership in their field and is charting the path for lasting and positive change in people’s lives.”

For the public sector, the recipient of the 2021 Leadership Award is Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States. For decades, Mrs. Bush has worked to advance and protect the rights and well-being of women and girls around the world, particularly in Afghanistan. As First Lady, she made three trips to the country, and in 2001 she delivered the President’s weekly radio address—the first for a First Lady—to direct international attention to the Taliban’s oppression of women. At the 2014 Concordia Annual Summit, Mrs. Bush delivered keynote remarks, alongside Former President George W. Bush, and at the 2017 Concordia Annual Summit, she led a panel of first ladies in a discussion about the influence first spouses have to improve the lives of women and children in their countries. Today, Mrs. Bush pursues her work in global health, gender equity, democracy and human rights, and literacy through the George W. Bush Institute. She also serves as an Honorary Co-Chair of the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, a role she has held for nearly two decades.

“I first learned of Concordia in 2011 when President George W. Bush delivered the first-ever keynote address at a Concordia Summit. Since then, I have watched Concordia’s growth, and I have been thrilled to participate over the years,” said Mrs. Bush. “I am honored to receive the 2021 Leadership Award. I am committed to supporting women around the world – in countries like Afghanistan, where their freedoms are fragile; and throughout the continent of Africa, where there is so much promise. Thanks to Concordia for joining me in celebrating women across the globe.”

For the private sector, Concordia is awarding Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group. At the forefront of the LEGO Group since 2017, Christiansen has launched the first sustainably-sourced LEGO elements and incorporated digital experiences into the company’s core products. Under his leadership, the company has committed to making its packaging fully sustainable by the end of 2025 and to investing up to $400 million over the next three years in its sustainability and social responsibility initiatives, which focus on helping children learn through play.

“Sustainability is a top priority for all private sector companies. If we don’t take urgent action now to care for our planet and for future generations, it will be too late,” commented Christiansen. “I’m grateful to receive the 2021 Leadership Award and to be able to share the work we’re doing at the LEGO Group to empower our children, especially through play, to create a sustainable world. I’m humbled to appear alongside two influential leaders, and I look forward to putting our minds together to advance some much-needed conversations.” 

For the nonprofit sector, the recipient of the 2021 Leadership Award is Mónica Ramírez, Founder & President of Justice for Migrant Women. A force for social justice across the U.S., Ramírez fights for the civil and human rights of women, children, workers, Latinos/as, and immigrants, and has a specific focus on representing female farmworkers and other low-paid immigrant women who are victims of workplace discrimination and sexual violence. She is also Co-Founder of The Latinx House, Poderistas, and Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. She authored the ‘Dear Sisters’ open letter to the women of Hollywood from farmworker women that sparked the TIME’S UP movement, and has received numerous accolades for her effective advocacy and activism. Ramírez headlined Concordia’s first all-Latinx panel at the 2019 Annual Summit

“Migrant women in the United States and across the globe are powerful. It is my honor to work alongside them to help elevate their power, to fight for their rights and to ensure that they are centered in conversations and decisions that impact their lives,” said Ramírez. “The kind and scale of change that is required to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems for migrant women and other community members cannot be achieved without embracing the model that Concordia is founded on, which brings together the public sector, private sector, and nonprofit sector with an understanding that directly impacted community members must be informing and driving the strategy for change. I believe that together we can overturn long-standing oppressive systems and policies that deny women, children, workers, and immigrants their civil and human rights in order to advance progress and justice on a global scale. I’m honored to receive this prestigious recognition and look forward to participating in this year’s Annual Summit.” 

Leadership Award recipients are nominated anonymously by Concordia’s Board of Directors, Advisors and Senior Advisors, Leadership Council, and staff. They are voted on and selected by the Leadership Award Committee, chaired by Anita McBride and managed by Concordia’s Executive Office. 

The following members of Concordia’s Leadership Council serve on the Concordia Leadership Award Committee: 

The official award ceremony for the 2021 Leadership Award will take place during the 2021 Annual Summit

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