About the Awards

In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Island Innovation Awards will recognize individuals, organizations and projects driving positive change for remote and island communities globally.

  • There will be 12 award categories judged by an esteemed Jury.
  • Organizations and individuals across remote, rural and island communities will have the opportunity to apply.
  • The selection and judging will be a highly transparent process, ensuring the integrity of the process and validating the winners.
  • The focus of the awards will be on sharing the how of success from the winners, so other communities may benefit.

Island Innovation Awards

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Why Apply?


Winners will be publicised across the Island Innovation and Clinton Global Initiative networks, and prominently highlighted on the Island Innovation website. Interviews and case studies will be published and shared with our global community of 35,000+ email newsletter subscribers and 100,000+ social media followers. Winners will also be sent an award badge to display on their website, social media, and newsletters.


The awards are an important opportunity for unsung heroes to gain the publicity and recognition that they deserve. These are individuals, organizations, or projects that are dedicated to making a significant positive impact within their local island communities. Through the awards, a global audience will join us in celebrating their achievements.


The jury includes an international panel of 20 highly distinguished individuals. This includes former Presidents, United Nations Leaders, and other experts. From this esteemed jury, entrants will gain productive feedback which will significantly benefit their future work and projects.


Island Innovation will help to organise new opportunities for our winners, including sending them potential funding, collaboration, and networking opportunities. There is also the possibility of being nominated by our team for The Earthshot Prize, as Island Innovation is an official nominating organization. It is important to note that each of the five Earthshot Prize categories can only be won by those nominated by official nominating organizations, and the award cannot be applied to.

Inspire Others

A major element of the Awards is to inspire other island communities. Award winners will not only be bringing about change within their communities but will also be inspiring a positive change in island communities across the world. They will be playing an influential role in facilitating the expansion of Island Innovation’s global knowledge-sharing platform for islands, a key element of Island Innovation’s mission.

The Earthshot Prize

Island Innovation is an official nominating organization for The Earthshot Prize a global prize launched by Prince William, designed to solve our planet’s greatest environmental challenges. Island Innovation has been invited to submit nominations across all five categories. Winners in each category are awarded £1 million to help scale and roll out their innovations.

Award Categories


Future Island Leader Award

An inspirational young person who has demonstrated leadership in spearheading transformative change for their island community. The recipient will be under the age of 30 and have developed a novel and impactful initiative that is already driving substantial benefits for a broad range of islanders.

Recipient: Inspirational Youth Leader

1. Future Island Leader Award

Winners and Finalists

Island Innovator Award

An islander who has had a significantly positive impact on the lives of a broad cross-section of island community members through the implementation of innovative new technologies, initiatives or activities. The recipient will be someone who has developed one or more solutions to island issues that have achieved substantial positive impact. This award will recognize talented individuals and inspire islanders to develop innovations beneficial to island communities.

Recipient: Inspirational Innovative Islander

2. Island Innovator Award

Winners and Finalists

Women SDG Leadership Award

Wide ranging evidence demonstrates that when women are engaged in leadership roles, whether in government, the private sector, or civil society, outcomes are more likely to be inclusive and bring positive results in areas such as cooperation, education, health care and more. Women’s leadership has been shown to lead to positive social outcomes not just for fellow women but for communities as a whole. This award will inspire other women to become leaders by showing concrete examples within a community when women are in leadership roles, and are focused on one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Recipient: This award will recognize an outstanding woman leader who is driving positive social, economic, or environmental change in her country, island, or community.

3. Women SDG Leadership Award

Winners and Finalists

Most Impactful Island Innovation Ambassador

An Island Innovation Ambassador who most embodies the values and mission of Island Innovation. The recipient of the award will be a member of the 2021 Ambassador Program who has contributed to the Island Innovation community in a novel way, as well as contributing to the sustainability of their island. This award will recognise the effort and contribution of an individual on the Island Innovation Ambassador Program who has been active throughout 2021 and contributed to both the international network and create change for their community, such as running a Hub or other initiative. This award will be decided by the Island Innovation team and is not open to applications or nominations.

Recipient: Impactful Island Innovation Ambassador

4. Most Impactful Island Innovation Ambassador

Winners and Finalists


Sustainable Energy Initiative of the Year

This award is for an energy project that has made a significant positive impact on island communities including factors such as reducing price, decarbonization and energy security. The recipient of the award will be an impactful sustainable energy project, with positive implications for the local economy, community and environment. The project will have opened new possibilities and opportunities, with the potential for global replication.

Recipient: Impactful Sustainable Energy Project

5. Sustainable Energy Initiative of the Year

Winners and Finalists

Resilient Island Award

An island that has implemented initiatives to develop and strengthen community disaster resilience, in the face of challenges such as climate change, COVID-19, economic issues, social tensions and more. The award will be presented to an island or island group in which the government, a community organization, or a consortium of organizations and government have been working towards developing resiliency. This award will inspire other island governments or community organizations to work towards making their islands more resilient in the face of disasters.

Recipient: Island Implementing Innovative Community Resiliency Initiatives

6. Resilient Island Award

Winners and Finalists

COVID-19 response award

This award is for a project that has made a significant positive impact on its people and geographical area through the implementation of an effective COVID-19 response. The recipient of the award will be any organization that has responded to the threat of COVID-19 in an innovative way, to respond to the health, economic or social crises.

Recipient: Effective & Innovative COVID-19 Response Strategy

7. COVID-19 response award

Winners and Finalists

Blue Economy initiative award

This award is for an island initiative that has strongly contributed to the preservation of the marine environment while looking at the “Blue Economy” as an opportunity for island communities. The recipient of the award will be a project that has implemented an initiative with a significant positive impact on the ocean.

Recipient: Impactful Blue Economy Initiative

8. Blue Economy initiative award

Winners and Finalists


Sustainable Company of the Year

This award is for an island-based company that promotes sustainability solutions for their island. The recipient of the award will be an established business, start-up, community enterprise or similar that uses sustainable practices at the core of its operations, and has introduced new, or improved existing goods, services or strategies to help island communities become more sustainable.

Recipient: Island-Based Social Enterprise

9. Sustainable Company of the Year

Winners and Finalists

Most Transformational Government Sustainability Initiative

This award is for a new local, regional or national government initiative that has made a significant positive impact on its people and geographical area. The recipient of the award will be a government ministry, department, institution or agency that has created an initiative that has opened new possibilities and opportunities on their island. This award will inspire other island governments to start initiatives that help to positively transform the lives of their citizens. Initiatives may include new educational programs, improvements to housing or public transport, a transition to renewable energy, or a successful job creation program.

Recipient: Transformative Public Sector Sustainability Initiative

10. Most Transformational Government Sustainability Initiative

Winners and Finalists

Green Finance and Investment Award

An island-based organization that provides green finance and investment opportunities to the local community in which it is based. The recipient of the award will be given to an organization that provides access to finance or financial tools centered around sustainability, while also supporting the local community. This award will recognize the importance of green finance and investment and inspire other organizations to start offering it.

Recipient: Sustainable Company In The Finance Sector

11. Green Finance and Investment Award

Winners and Finalists

Innovative research

Innovative and novel research with practical applications that creates an opportunity to drive positive change for islands. The research will have been conducted by or in partnership with an island-based academic institution by an individual or group. This research has either opened new possibilities in the island community, or will do in the future, and must have practical applications or create an opportunity to drive positive change.

Recipient: Innovative Research Team

12. Innovative Island Research Award

Winners and Finalists

Thank you to the Jury

Former President of the Republic of Seychelles

James Michel

James Alix Michel was the third President of the Republic of Seychelles between April 2004 and October 2016. Prior to this he was the Vice-President and the longest serving Cabinet minister in Seychelles, serving a total of 39 years in the Cabinet. He is the patron of the James Michel Blue Economy Research Institute and also patron of the Jj Spirit Foundation. He is the Chancellor of the University of Seychelles.
Former President of the Republic of Kiribati

Anote Tong

Anote Tong was President of the Republic of Kiribati having served the maximum three term limit between 2003 to 2016. During his terms in office he was responsible for drawing international focus of attention tothe human dimension of climate change by highlighting the existential threat faced by his people and those of other vulnerable countries on the frontline of the impacts of climate change, many of which are in the Pacific Region.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) projections ofsea level rise will render these island nations uninhabitable even submerged well within the century and President Tong has been campaigning for credible options for securing the future of thesecommunities. He was responsible for declaring what was then the largest marine protected area when he closed off more than 400 thousand sq. km of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in 2008 from any extractiveindustries. PIPA has since been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. For his advocacy work on climate change and ocean conservation during his terms in office and since retiring from office, Anote Tong has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded the Sun HakPeace Prize in 2015, the Peter Benchley Award, the Edmund Hilary Award and a number of other acknowledgements of his work.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Canterbury, NZ, his Masters in Economic from the London School of Economics and an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from The National Pukyong University, South Korea and an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji.

Former United Nations High Representative

Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu

Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu is the former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. Ms. ‘Utoikamanu was responsible for monitoring and following up on the implementation of all three Programmes of Action under the purview of UN-OHRLLS and for coordinating advocacy work related to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in forums and platforms outside the United Nations.
Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. ‘Utoikamanu was Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Tourism, Tonga; Acting Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Council of the University of the South Pacific (2015); Deputy Pro-Chancellor and Deputy Chair of the Council of the University of the South Pacific (2009-2016); Deputy Director General and Director of Education, Training and Human Development of the Secretariat of Pacific Community (2009-2015); Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the Government of Tonga to the United Nations, United States of America, Cuba and Venezuela and High Commissioner to Canada (2005-2009); and Secretary for Foreign Affairs and European Commission’s National Authorizing Officer for Tonga (2002-2005).

A Tongan national, Ms. ‘Utoikamanu speaks Tongan and English. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics (1980) and a Masters in Commerce in Economics (1983) from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Public Health, Yale School of Medicine & The COVID-19 Equity Task Force Chair for President Biden

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith

Dr. Nunez-Smith is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management; Inaugural Associate Dean for Health Equity Research; Founding Director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC); Director of the Center for Research Engagement (CRE); Associate Cancer Center Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at Yale Cancer Center; Chief Health Equity Officer at Smilow Cancer Hospital; Deputy Director for Health Equity Research and Workforce Development at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Core Faculty in the National Clinician Scholars Program; Research Faculty in the Global Health Leadership Initiative; Director of the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership; and Co-Director of the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship.

Dr. Nunez-Smith’s research focuses on promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations with an emphasis on centering community engagement, supporting healthcare workforce diversity and development, developing patient reported measurements of healthcare quality, and identifying regional strategies to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases. Dr. Nunez-Smith has extensive expertise in examining the effects of social and structural determinants of health, systemic influences contributing to health disparities, health equity improvement, and community-academic partnered scholarship. In addition to this extensive experience in primary data collection, management, and analysis, ERIC has institutional expertise in qualitative and mixed methods, population health, and medical informatics.

She is the principal investigator on many NIH and foundation-funded research projects, including an NIH/NCI-funded project to develop a tool to assess patient reported experiences of discrimination in healthcare. She has conducted an investigation of the promotion and retention of diversity in academic medical school faculty and has published numerous articles on the experiences of minority students and faculty. Funded by NIH/NIMHD, she established the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN), a research collaborative across four Eastern Caribbean islands, supporting several chronic disease research projects and enhancing health outcomes research and leadership capacity in the region; the flagship ECHORN Cohort Study recruited and is following a community-dwelling adult cohort (n=3000) to examine novel chronic disease risk and protective factors. She recently received NIH/NHLBI funding to build upon this work by recruiting children into an expanded intergenerational ECHORN cohort, inclusive of a biorepository. She is also PI on one of five NIH/NIMHD-funded Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers on Health Disparities focused on Precision Medicine, which leverages the ECHORN infrastructure to conduct collaborative research on hypertension and diabetes.

Most recently, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shed national attention on the health and healthcare disparities of marginalized populations, she was called upon to serve on the Governor’s ReOpen CT Advisory Group and to chair its Community Committee. She served as an Advisor to the Biden-Harris campaign, and subsequently named co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board and will serve as chair of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force in the administration. She also received NIH funding to leverage ECHORN to improve the COVID-19 testing cascade in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Dr. Nunez-Smith has mentored dozens of trainees since completing fellowship and has received numerous awards for teaching and mentoring. She is board certified in internal medicine, having completed residency training at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and fellowship at the Yale Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, where she also received a Masters in Health Sciences. Originally from the US Virgin Islands, she attended Jefferson Medical College, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, and she earned a BA in Biological Anthropology and Psychology at Swarthmore College.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean

Peter Thompson

In 2017, the United Nations Secretary-General Guterres appointed Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji as his Special Envoy for the Ocean, aiming at galvanizing concerted efforts to follow up on the outcomes of the 2017 United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference, maintaining the momentum for action to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Mr. Thomson leads UN's advocacy and public outreach efforts inside and outside of the UN system, ensuring that the many positive outcomes of The 2017 Ocean Conference, including the over 1500 voluntary commitments, are analysed and implemented. He also works with civil society, the scientific community, the private sector, and other relevant stakeholders, to coalesce and encourage their activities in support of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.

Mr. Thomson brings a distinguished experience in diplomatic services and is familiar with the work of the United Nations, including as Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN and President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, during which he provided visionary leadership in guiding the preparation of The 2017 Ocean Conference.

Elected President of the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority's 2011-2012 session and President of the Council of the Authority's 2015-2016 session, Mr. Thomson chaired the Group of 77 and China (2013) and served as President of the Executive Board of UN Development Programme/UN Population Fund/UN Office for Programme Support (UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS) from 2014 to 2015. As a civil servant in the Government of Fiji, he devoted many years of his life to working in the fields of rural development and then foreign affairs.

CEO, The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator

Racquel Moses

Racquel has enabled leadership and organizations around the world to go beyond their current vision and stay on the cusp of what’s next.

As the newest UN Global Ambassador in the Race to Zero, Racquel has become a critical advisor for: driving the shift to digital; process automation and implementing key turnaround projects that heighten customer engagement and strengthen organizational performance.

Known for her ability to build coalitions, Racquel’s success in the public and private sectors has allowed her to drive important advancements on world-changing topics that require regional consensus, such as climate change, sustainability and building resilience.

Chief Executive Officer at Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, former Member of the Scottish Parliament and Minister for Transport and Telecommunications

Tavish Scott

Tavish Scott is Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Association. He previously was Head of External Affairs for Scottish Rugby (2019-20) and MSP for Shetland (1999-2019).

He served as a government minister in various portfolios, held various parliamentary positions and is a former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Tavish is non-executive director of Shetland Space Centre and is on the board of Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association, part of the UK Wide People for Places Group, and a visiting Professor for the Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University.

Tavish has an honours degree in Business Management from Napier Edinburgh University

Current Global Greens Ambassador, former Leader of the Australian Greens and former Senator for Tasmania

Christine Milne

Christine Milne was the Leader of the Australian Greens from 2012 to 2015 in the Australian Parliament. She was elected to represent Tasmania in the federal parliament in 2004 after a distinguished career in the Tasmanian state parliament (1989-98). She was instrumental in developing the Clean Energy Package, which was the core legislation responsible for addressing global warming. Christine also served on the Global Council of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 2000-2008 with four years as one of the four global Vice Presidents. She represented the organization at the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention.

Christine was the first woman to lead a political party in Tasmania and is a leader in the environment movement in Australia and overseas. She was appointed to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1990 and has received many awards during her distinguished career. She has also been awarded the Inaugural Women in Leadership Award for Tasmania in 2015. She is currently a Patron of the Australian Solar Council, an advisory board member of the Climate Accountability Institute in the USA , an Ambassador of the 100% Renewable Energy Campaign of the World Future Council and the Global Greens Ambassador.

Professor of Energy, University of California, Former Science Envoy, US Department of State

Dr. Daniel M. Kammen

Dr. Daniel M. Kammen holds the James and Katherine Lau Distinguished Chair in Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group where he serves as Chair, the Goldman School of Public Policy where he directs the Center for Environmental Policy, and the department of Nuclear Engineering. Kammenis the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory(RAEL; http://rael.berkeley.edu). He was the director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center from 2007 – 2015.

Kammen was appointed by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April 2010 as the first energy fellow of the Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA) initiative. He began service as the Science Envoy for U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016, but resigned over President Trump’s policies in August, 2017. He has served the State of California and US federal government in expert and advisory capacities, including time at the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Energy, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Dr. Kammen was educated in physics at Cornell (BA 1984) and Harvard (MA 1986; PhD 1988), and held postdoctoral positions at the California Institute of Technology and Harvard. He was an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University before moving to the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Kammen has served as a contributing or coordinating lead author on various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1999.The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2020 Kammen was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences..

Kammen helped found over 10 companies, including Enphase that went public in 2012, Renewable Funding (Renew Financial) a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) implementing company that went public in 2014. Kammen played a core role in developing the successful bid for the $500 million energy biosciences institute funded by BP.

During 2010-2011 Kammen served as the World Bank Group’s first Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. While there Kammen worked on the Kenya-Ethiopia “green corridor” transmission project, Morocco’s green transformation, the 10-year energy strategy for the World Bank, and on investing in household energy and gender equity. He was appointed to this newly-created position in October 2010, in which he provided strategic leadership on policy, technical, and operational fronts. The aim is to enhance the operational impact of the Bank’s renewable energy and energy efficiency activities while expanding the institution’s role as an enabler of global dialogue on moving energy development to a cleaner and more sustainable pathway. Kammen’s work at the World Bank included funding electrified personal and municipal vehicles in China, and the $1.24 billion transmission project linking renewable energy assets in Kenya and Ethiopia.

He has authored or co-authored 12 books, written more than 400 peer-reviewed journal publications, and has testified more than 40 times to U.S. state and federal congressional briefings, and has provided various governments with more than 50 technical reports. For details see http;//rael.berkeley.edu/publications. Dr. Kammen also served for many years on the Technical Review Board of the Global Environment Facility. He has been the Editor-in-Chief of the open access journal Environmental Research Letters since its founding in 2006.

Kammen is a frequent contributor and commentator in the international news media, including Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times. Kammen has appeared on ‘60 Minutes’ (twice), NOVA, Frontline, and hosted the six-part Discovery Channel series Ecopolis. Dr. Kammen is a Permanent Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society. In the US, has served on several National Academy of Sciences boards and panels.

Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies

Sir Hilary Beckles

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment.

Sir Hilary has had widespread Caribbean and global recognition for his academic achievements and leadership expertise. He was called upon by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to serve as an inaugural member of his Science Advisory Board on Sustainable Development. He also served as an advisor to UNESCO’s Cities for Peace Global Program, and was an advisor to the UN World Culture Report. He is also a consultant for the UNESCO Cities for Peace Global Programme.

President, Blue Planet Alliance

Henk Rogers

From international gaming phenomena to game-changing initiatives, Dutch-born entrepreneur and innovator Henk Rogers continues to pave the way in regenerating our home planet.

Starting his career in computer gaming more than three decades ago, Rogers revolutionized the industry by creating Japan’s first Role-Playing Game (RPG) and later bringing the legendary game Tetris, to the world.

Since then, Rogers has dedicated his career to research, development, advocacy and implementation of renewable energy sources.

HisBlue Planet Foundation(BPF) in Honolulu, has led efforts to pass the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy mandate, requiring the State of Hawaii to commit to switching to 100 percent renewable sources of electricity by 2045.BPF also helped to change Hawaiian Electric Industries’ business model, enabling them to make money by switching to renewable resources.

His newest initiative, Blue Planet Alliance (BPA) based out of New York City, is expanding BPF’s “mandate first, business model second” approach to international regions and countries. BPA is driving global systemic change by developing projects that change behaviors of people, companies, towns and countries, toward sustainability.

Rogers continues to explore renewable energy opportunities through his Blue Planet Research, which conducts R&D at his off-grid ranch on Hawaii Island.

He also serves as a board member for the American Renewable Energy Institute and Global Institute of Sustainability.

CEO and Executive Director, Hawaii Local2030 Hub and Hawaii Green Growth, former Director for Climate Change and Environment, National Security Council at The White House

Celeste Connors

Celeste Connors has twenty years of experience working at the intersection of economic, environment, energy, and international development policy. Before joining Hawai‘i Green Growth, she was CEO and co-founder of cdots development LLC, which works to build resilient infrastructure systems and services in vulnerable communities. Celeste previously served as the Director for Environment and Climate Change at the National Security Council and National Economic Council in the White House where she helped shape the Administration’s climate and energy policies, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to joining the White House, Celeste served as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Germany. She also held positions at the U.S. Mission to the UN, served as the Climate and Energy Advisor to the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and worked for City of New York.

Celeste is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center and was a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in the Energy, Resources and Environment Program. She holds an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Celeste has served on numerous boards including her current service on Hawaiian Electric Industries, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), the Institute for Sustainability and Resilience at the University of Hawaii and Icebreaker One. She previously served on the Board of America’s Service Commissions, the IUCN World Conservation Congress National Host Committee, and was a Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations. Celeste grew up in Kailua, O‘ahu.

Honorary Mayor of Saint-Pierre and former Senator of the Republic of France

Karine Claireaux

Honorary Mayor of Saint-Pierre and former Senator of the Republic of France

Karine Claireaux is a recipient of the French Customs Service Medal of honour. She has worked as a government official with the French Customs Service since 1981 and was seconded for elective duties from April 2000 to August 2020.

Karine has served as a Town Councillor of Saint-Pierre since 1983. She became the Deputy Mayor of Saint-Pierre from 1989 to 2001 and was in charge of social and maritime and port issues. She was elected Mayor of Saint-Pierre in 2001, reelected in 2008 and then again in 2014. During the successive mandates, between 2014 and 2020, a voluntary waste management policy was set up. The ‘Zero Waste’ policy has earned the town of Saint-Pierre three Eco-Mayors awards, in recognition of the voluntarism and originality of the project.

Karine served as Vice-President of the General Council from 2000 to 2006. From 2011 to 2017 she was a Senator of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. She was a member of the Local Finance Committee, from 2009 to 2016.

Karine has been a member of the Overseas Maritime Committee, in charge of developing a sustainable local maritime policy, since its creation in 2010, up to 2021. She has been a member of the monitoring committee for the Ocean Round Table since 2009. She has been a member of the French Agency for Biodiversity (now the French Office for Biodiversity) since its creation.

Since 2012, Karine has been a member of ANEL, the National Association of Elected Officials of the Coast, an association bringing together elected officials of coastline municipalities. From 2013 to 2021, she has been a member of the CNML, the National Council of the Sea and Coastal Zone. She served as President of the Board of the CNML from November 2014 to February 2021. Karine is a member of the France Maritime Committee, which brings together the maritime economic sectors and the public authorities.

She has been a member of the Compost plus Network since 2014 and was the Network President from November 2019 to February 2021. The aim of this Network is to increase the separate collection of bio-waste, as well as to promote the sector and the production of quality compost.

Karine was the Vice-President of the CNPEOM, the National Commission for the Evaluation of Overseas State Policies, from May 2013 to September 2017. She was Secretary-General of the Executive Board of the IGPOM, the Parliamentary Intergroup on Overseas territories from May 2013 to September 2017, and the Vice-President of the Senate Overseas Delegation from September 2014 to September 2017. She is a founding member (1992) of the Lions Club International.

President, International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA); and Malta Ambassador-at-large for Islands and Small States

Godfrey Baldacchino PhD

Godfrey Baldacchino PhD (Warwick), BA (Gen.) (Malta), PGCE (Malta), MA (The Hague) is Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology at the University of Malta, Malta. He served as an Island Studies Teaching Fellow, UNESCO co-Chair and Canada Research Chair in Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Canada, between 2003 and 2020. He is founding Executive Editor of Island Studies Journal (ISSN:1715-2593), and since 2018 founding Executive Editor of Small States & Territories journal (ISSN:2616-8006). He served as Visiting Professor of Island Tourism at the Universita' di Corsica Pascal Paoli, France (2012-2015). He was Member and Chair of the Malta Board of Cooperatives (1994-2003) and core member of the Malta-European Union Steering & Action Committee (MEUSAC). In 2008-2010, he was Vice-President of the Prince Edward Island Association for Newcomers to Canada. In 2014, he was elected President of the International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA). In June 2015, he was elected Chair of the Scientific Board of RETI, the global excellence network of island universities. In 2021, he was appointed (thematic) Malta Ambassador for islands and small states. He served as Pro-Rector for International Development and Quality Assurance (2016-2021) during the first Rectorate of Professor Alfred Vella at the University of Malta.

His research interests include: island studies, small state studies, political geography, sociology of work, international relations, island tourism, entrepreneurship, brain rotation, immigration, labour relations, human resource management, adult education, worker empowerment and the development of cooperatives.

Prof. Baldacchino has (co-)authored or (co-)edited some 50 books, reports and monographs; and has authored, since 1993, some 160 peer-reviewed journal articles or book chapters.

Prof. Baldacchino`s work has appeared in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Swedish (and apart from English and Maltese).

Co-Founder and CEO at Pink Coconuts - LGBTQ Travel Tech & LGBTQ Advocate

Zi Donnya Piggott

Donnya (also Zi) is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pink Coconuts - a new LGBTQ+ travel startup focused on creating spaces for queer travellers to thrive. Zi was given the prestigious Queen's Young Leader Award by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for their work as an LGBTQ Caribbean Advocate and the co-founder of B-GLAD, an LGBTQ organisation focussed on advancing the social, political and economic environment for LGBTQ people to live, work and play. Zi has spoken at forums like TEDx Bridgetown, Heineken's National Conference, UK Black Pride, One Young World, Human Rights Campaign, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta & London, The Economist in New York, International Gay and Lesbian Association Conference in New Zealand. In 2017 Zi became a Watson University Scholar focused on Social Entrepreneurship in Boulder, Colorado. In 2019, Zi was named the winner of the Sustainable Development Goal 10 Challenge by One Young World - a world wide organization and competition which saw thousands of entries from all around the world. Zi received the award at the annual conference in London that year. Zi now lives and works between Bridgetown, Nairobi and Los Angeles with her partner and Co-Founder Thogori Karago.
Program Manager, Oxfam America

Maria Concepción

María O. Concepción Díaz is an experienced program manager with a demonstrated history of working in program, policy, and advocacy spaces of large international non-profits and the public sector. She is a passionate advocate for inclusive energy solutions who thrives developing civic engagement strategies for under-served communities. She has held leadership positions in a variety of US-based NGOs, governments and coalitions. She has managed several large solar energy pipeline projects and has a deep understanding of the strategic and operational requirements for mobilizing citizens towards renewable energy projects.
Regional Director Pacific, Oxfam in the Pacific

Raijeli Nicole

Raijeli Drodrolagi Nicole joined the international development NGO Oxfam in September 2015 as the Regional Director Pacific. Her main task has been to establish the organisation and steer its strategic role in and outside the Pacific region.

Today, Oxfam in the Pacific working alongside its partners is one of the few independant NGOs in the North Pacific.

Prior to joining Oxfam, she was the CEO of Save the Children Fiji (2013 – 2015) where her focus was organisational change as well.

Raijeli is a community development specialist and her leadership roles have been informed by her experience working as a secondary school teacher, development banking (Fiji), women’s movement (Fiji, Pacific, NZ, S.E Asia and global levels), and government (DIA, NZ).

Raijeli is a Fiji islander and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Pacific (History/Politics & Economics) and a Masters in Internal Law and Politics from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch (2011). Her Masters thesis looked at the framework of how civil society could have critical engagement with the military.

Crisis Response & Humanitarian Aid, Google

Alexander Diaz

Alexander J. Diaz leads Crisis Response and Humanitarian Aid at Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm. Through this role, Alex manages Google’s philanthropic efforts in response to global crises, such as natural disasters and public health emergencies, providing innovative nonprofits on the frontlines with funding and volunteers. As part of his role, Alex helped lead Google.org’s $100 million and 50K+ pro bono hours commitment to COVID-19 response globally across health and science, distance learning, and economic relief and recovery. More recently, Alex is managing the company's philanthropic effort to advance COVID-19 vaccine equity and anticipatory action. Previously, Alex was Chief of Staff to the global head of public policy and government relations at YouTube, and was a core member of Google’s global policy strategy team.

Alex is the winner of both the Marshall and the Rhodes Scholarship awards. As a Rhodes Scholar, Alex received a Master’s of Public Policy and a Master’s of Financial Economics at the University of Oxford. Alex graduated from Harvard College Phi Beta Kappa and with highest honors in psychology where he focused his studies and research on the cognitive mechanisms that underlie unconscious race, ethnic, and gender bias, and the effects of these biases on courtroom procedures. Alex has been named to Forbes’ List of 30 Under 30 for Law & Policy. The son of Dominican and Cuban immigrants, Alex was raised in Union City, NJ.

A Rhodes scholar who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard, Diaz manages Google's philanthropic efforts in response to global crises, providing funding and volunteers to innovative nonprofits on the frontlines.

Climate Activist

Selina Leem

Selina Neirok Leem is an activist from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and took on the role of a climate change advocate for her country. She credits her grandfather for her deep awareness of the increasing fate of her island home through his stories about how the ice in the North Pole and South Pole were melting and would soon flood the Marshall Islands. Representing her home, Selina was the youngest delegate at the COP21 in Paris. During the closing remarks, then Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony deBrum gave her the opportunity to give the final statement on behalf of her country. She told the world that the Paris agreement, “should be the turning point in our story; a turning point for all of us.”
Director, Oceano Azul Foundation, Founder of the Ecologic Institute and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (Canada)

Andreas Kraemer

Founder of Ecologic Institute, is currently Senior Fellow at Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS Potsdam) and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Canada, non-executive Director of the Fundação Oceano Azul, Portugal, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of German Studies at Duke University. In 2015, he was Visiting Scholar at the MIT. His research focuses on the theory and practice of think tanks and how they function in different political systems, the interactions among policy domains and international relations, and global governance on environment, resources, climate and energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for an award category?

Select which award category you would like to apply to be entered for and click on the application form, fill it in and then click submit once it has been completed.

How do I nominate someone else or an organization for an award category?

Select which award category you would like to nominate someone for and click on the nomination form, fill it in and then click submit once it has been completed. Please note nominations are only possible for the individual categories.

Where will the award ceremony be broadcast?

The award ceremony will be live broadcast via Zoom and streamed live to the Island Innovation Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. The ceremony will also be recorded.

Can I sponsor the event or an individual award?

We have limited opportunities for sponsors of specific award categories or the event as a whole. If you are interested in sponsoring the event please get in touch.

Will there be a prize for the Island Innovation Awards?

Prizes will be in the form of recognition only. There is no monetary prize or otherwise for winners of the awards but after the awards ceremony we will provide extensive visibility to our global island network of 120,000 island stakeholders. Winners will also be able to use the Island Innovation Awards logo on their website, publications and social media.

Are the awards open to all islands?

Yes! The awards are open to all islands across the globe.