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lifetime achievement award recipients

Each year, TIAW bestows the TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual TIAW Global Forum to recognize one woman who has truly made a difference in the lives of women.

Selima Ahmad, Founder of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Vice Chairperson of Nitol-Niloy Group is the recipient of the 2015 TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Ms. Ahmad at the TIAW Awards gala in conjunction with the TIAW Annual Global Forum.

Listed below are TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients: 2013 - 2003.

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  • 29 Sep 2020 1:17 AM | Anonymous


    The International Alliance for Women announces the 2020 World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award recipient – Ruth A. Davis. 

    TIAW bestows the annual TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award to one woman who has truly made a difference in the lives of women. Ruth A. Davis is the chairperson and co-founder of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) foundation; Career Ambassador (Retired) – US Department of State is the 2020 TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Fittingly, Davis will receive the award at the 2020 virtual forum where TIAW will also celebrate 40 Years of Empowering Women.

    Ruth A. Davis is the chairperson and co-founder of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) foundation. Founded in 2007, IWEC’s mission is to connect and develop a global network of successful women business owners through working with international chambers of commerce and women’s business organizations.  IWEC is devoted to promoting women’s economic empowerment by creating an international network of businesswomen.

    Ambassador Davis is an internationalist who retired from the U.S. Department of State with the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service of the United States. Her assignments in the U.S. Department of State include Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2001-2003), Director of the Foreign Service Institute (1997-2001), Ambassador to the Republic of Benin (1992-1995), and U.S. Consul General in Barcelona, Spain (1987-1991). She was also posted in Kinshasa, Nairobi, Tokyo and Naples as a Consular Officer. Ambassador Davis was detailed to Howard University in Washington, DC as Distinguished Advisor for International Affairs and she served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor in the Bureau of African Affairs from 2005-2008.

    She has received two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards, the Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award for mentoring, the 2005 Department of State Equal Opportunity Award, the Secretary’s Distinguished Award conferred by Colin L. Powell, and the International Career Advancement Program’s Award for visionary leadership and fostering diversity within foreign affairs. In 2015 she was named by the Economist Magazine as one of the ‘Top Diversity Figures in Public life’ and in 2016 she received the American Foreign Service Association’s Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy and the Link’s Co Founder Award for International Service.

    Ambassador Davis earned an MSW from the University of California at Berkeley. Her alma mater, Spelman College, and Middlebury College conferred honorary LL.D degrees on her. She has served as President of the Thursday Luncheon Group (TLG); and is presently Chair of the International Mission of Mercy USA; Chairperson of the Charles B. Rangel Fellowship Selection Committee; and Vice President of the Association of Black American Ambassadors (ABAA). She is on the Board of the American Academy of Diplomacy; the Board of the Defense Language Institute; Vice President of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs; a member of The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.

  • 8 Oct 2013 6:32 AM | Anonymous

    In 2009, President Obama nominated Melanne Verveer to be the first ever U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State. Ambassador Verveer spent the past four years working with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to coordinate foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women, traveling to nearly sixty countries. In such capacity, she worked to mobilize concrete support for women’s political and economic empowerment through public-private partnerships as well by working to fully integrate women’s participation and rights into U.S. foreign policy. President Obama also appointed Verveer to serve as U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

    Today she is the Director of Georgetown University’s newly-established Institute for Women, Peace and Security. The Institute seeks to enhance national and global security by documenting the crucial role women play in peace-building and security through research and scholarship and by engaging global leaders from government, civil society and the private sector in conversations on the urgent issues of out times.

    Ambassador Verveer is also the founding partner of Seneca Point Global, the global women strategy firm. SPG partners with leading companies and institutions to design, implement and measure integrated strategies that focus on women and girls and drive sustainable results –whether social, economic or both.

    Prior to her role at the State Department, Ambassador Verveer served as Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership,an international NGO she co-founded to invest in emerging women leaders. Prior to Vital Voices, she served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady in the Clinton Administration. She was chief assistant to Hillary Clinton in her wide-ranging international activities to advance women’s rights and further social development, democracy and peace-building initiatives. She also led the effort to establish the President’s Interagency Council on Women and was instrumental in the adoption of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Prior to her time in the White House, Ambassador Verveer served in a number of leadership roles in public policy organizations and as congressional staff.

    Ambassador Verveer has a B.S. and M.S. from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development. She has served as the 2013 Humanitas visiting professor at Cambridge University. In 2008, the President of Ukraine awarded her the Order of Princess Olga. She holds several honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for Distinguished Service.

  • 8 Oct 2012 6:30 AM | Anonymous

    Candace Johnson is extraordinary by every possible standard. She is an entrepreneur, a role model for women, a trailblazer in telecommunications, an innovator in the knowledge economy, a corporate leader and a champion of women. She regularly makes the list of the most powerful women in Europe and beyond.

    Candace’s commitment in support of women started a few decades ago, when in her early 30s she found herself being one of the youngest women ever to be on the board of a multi-million dollar corporation… that she co-created! Being the only woman on many of the boards she was invited to be part of, she decided to dedicate herself to the promotion, support and mentoring of women to ultimately fill that gap. In 1995 she founded the Global Women in Telecommunications Association, GWTA, to change the global culture in the telecommunications technology industry and encourage the access of women to technology as well as to the highest leadership levels through networking with female role models worldwide.

    Most recently, Candace has dedicated herself to dramatically accelerate the participation of women in the boardrooms of key corporations. The European Business Schools Women on Boards initiative is a crucial element in the battle to move women into boardrooms. It eliminates the ability of companies to justify the absence of women on supervisory and executive boards by saying that qualified women are impossible to find. As a result of this initiative, women have moved closer to the goal of shattering the glass ceiling once and for all.

    Candace has undertaken this initiative with her usual panache, bringing all stakeholders together to leverage their synergy in reaching their target audience: education and public institutions, professional associations, CEOs and Chairmen of corporations in addition to well known women board directors and executives from all countries, age groups and sectors.

    That’s in her spare time. Candace is currently President of three European High- Tech Investment Funds and is co-founder of the Astra satellite system and SES Global, one of the world’s largest satellite systems. She is founding President of Europe Online, the world’s first Internet-based online service and Satellite Broadband Network, the founder of Loral Cyberstar-Teleport Europe, Europe’s first independent private trans-border satellite communications network and founding President of the VATM, the Association of Private Telecom Operators in Germany.

    Candace is also President of Johnson Paradigm Ventures (JPV), which is a principal founding shareholder with AXA,Caisse des Depots, Bayerische Landesbank, and the SPEF in Sophia Euro Lab, Europe’s first trans-border early- stage investment company, in which Candace also serves as Founding Member of the Board of Directors. JPV is also a principal founding shareholder in Ariadne Capital, "Architecting Europe.net” based in London as well as a founding Member and Member of the Board of the Sophia Business Angels in Sophia Antipolis France.

    In her personal capacity, Candace is a member of the Supervisory Boards of Paris-based Iris Capital and Turkey’s Inovent; a founding member and former president of the Board of the Sophia Business Angels in Sophia Antipolis, France; and founding president of three multi-million Euro investment vehicles, Succès Europe, Croissance Europe and Innovation Europe, together with Meeschaert Gestion Prive. Candace has also been instrumental in the creation of the Galata Business Angels in Turkey, the Luxembourg Business Angels and most recently, the Cologne Business Angels.

    She is a foundering member of all three groups.

    Candace is also a member of the board of governors of EDHEC, France’s largest business school, the University of Haifa in Israel, Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey, and a Senior Enterprise Fellow for the University of Essex in England, working together with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to bring entrepreneurship around the world.

    Candace has been featured in articles in Time Magazine, the Financial Times, the Economist, Le Monde, WirtschaftsWoche, and Manager Magazine, to name a few. She has been decorated as Commander of the Luxembourg Order of Merit and as an Officer of the Bundesverdienst Kreuz and the Couronne de la Chene respectively by the German and Luxembourg governments for her work in deregulating and privatizing telecommunications and media across Europe. She is also the second recipient ever of the United Nations-sponsored World Teleport Associations’ "Founders Award” and has been named by Time and Fortune Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in Europe. Ms. Johnson has also received the "Lifetime Achievement Award” along with Vinton Cerf and Tim Berners Lee from the World Communication Awards, the prestigious global telecoms organization 2002. Ms. Johnson holds Masters Degrees with Honors from the Sorbonne and Stanford Universities and a Bachelors Degree from Vassar College.

  • 8 Oct 2011 6:30 AM | Anonymous

    Amanda Ellis is the head of the New Zealand Aid Programme, leading 260 staff in New Zealand and offshore that manage over half a billion dollars of official development assistance annually. As Deputy Secretary International Development for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Amanda is the most senior woman in the New Zealand foreign service.

    Ms. Ellis was previously Lead Specialist (Gender), in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management group at the World Bank in Washington DC, where she designed the Women's Economic Opportunity Index (113 economies) and the first global data base of laws impacting women's ability to be economically active (181 economies). Ms. Ellis also managed the World Bank President's Global Private Sector Leaders Forum to promote women's economic empowerment which includes 23 CEOs of leading companies like Nike, Cisco, Exxon Mobil, PwC and Standard Chartered Bank. In 2004 Ms. Ellis founded the Gender Entrepreneurship Markets (GEM) programme at the International Finance Corporation, providing advice to governments and companies in developing countries on private sector development. She developed the "Gender and Growth" assessment tool, used in Africa, Latin America and Asia, the first ever SME credit lines for women in Africa (now a global product) and practical initiatives to support women entrepreneurs with training in business, finance and management skills, and access to markets.

    Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Ms Ellis was Head of Women's Markets and National Manager Women in Business for Westpac Banking Corporation in Australia. Her team grew annual revenues from a standing start to over half a billion dollars in just three years, proving the value of the women's market.

    An economist specializing in international trade and development, Ms. Ellis worked for the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 1998-1997, including roles at the OECD in Paris, Consul in the French Pacific Territories and manager of NZ aid programmes in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

    Ms. Ellis is the author of two best selling Random House titles, "Women's Business, Women's Wealth: create the life you want at work and in business" (2002) and "Woman 2 Woman: NZ women share their experiences of career and business" (2004), and lead author of five World Bank titles in the Directions in Development series on gender and growth in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific. She is a founding member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women and a board member of New Zealand Global Women. Ms. Ellis lives in Wellington with her husband Keric and son Mitchel.

  • 8 Oct 2010 6:29 AM | Anonymous

    Virginia is co-founder, President and CEO of Quantum Leaps Inc a non profit global accelerator or women's entrepreneurship, based in Washington DC, which uses technology to develop and disseminate knowledge and facilitate the sharing of best practices.

    She has been the OECD's Senior Advisor for Women's Entrepreneurship since 1995 and organized its conferences in Paris in 1997 and 2000 on women-owned small and medium enterprises. One important initiative announced in Paris was an agreement to create a Global Banking Alliance for Women where Virginia served as consultant to four leading banks in North America, Europe and Asia to incubate the Alliance.

    In 2002 she launched Project Tsunami The goal was to make huge economic waves through women’s enterprise development. After the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia in December 2004, she hosted a virtual policy forum to develop strategies to help women-owned businesses in the region get back on their feet.

    She organized entrepreneurial training in the former Soviet Union in 1990, and helped the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) launch and organize a 60-country conference on women’s entrepreneurship for developing and transition economies in 1997. Her company is also working with the Global Business Committee of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council on an initiative to get women-owned businesses certified as 51% or more women-owned, so that they can be integrated into the global supply chain and the world of ecommerce, and become suppliers to Global 500 multinational corporations.

    Ms. Littlejohn has organized numerous trade missions and trade events over the last several decades. In 1985, she helped organize the first women-owned-business trade mission in the world, between the United States and London, Frankfurt and Madrid. She has served as President of the National Association of Women Business Owners(NAWBO) in the U.S. 1984-1985, Vice President of the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs (Les Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises Mondiales, or FCEM). She is a judge for the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards, and for the Women in Business Awards for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the US-China Women Business Alliance in 2007.She and Quantum Leaps are now working with the OECD on fostering women’s entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Virginia is a global leader who continues to impact the entrepreneurial capabilities of women entrepreneurs by expanding markets worldwide and has made the World of Difference in the process.

  • 8 Oct 2009 6:29 AM | Anonymous

    Barbara Annis is an author and CEO of Annis and Associates. There are women throughout the world whose actions, efforts and inspiration truly do make a World of Difference" in supporting the advancement of women. Whether it is a small village project in a developing country that has ripple effects throughout the community, or an event or initiative n a global scale, the TIAW World of Difference Award recognizes the power within every individual to change the world we live in for the betterment of women. TIAW is honored to recognize Barbara as the 2009 TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.

    "One of the things that I find, both men and women in senior positions have a blind spot, they assume that men and women are similar in the workplace. But we are not the same. When a problem occurs in the workplace, the way women tackle it is very different than men. And if we don´t know that, we end up blaming each other for our differences.”

    For the past 20 years, Barbara Annis has been advocating with passion on a critically important point in the advancement of women, and sharing her insights with organizations of every size, to the smallest non-profits to the highest echelons of government and the world’s most established blue chip companies. Barbara believes it is vitally important to understand, acknowledge and accept the differences in the way women and men think, that those differences must be leveraged to improve productivity and remove barriers to women’s career advancement. In addition to a gruelling schedule of speaking engagements, Barbara has written two best-selling books: Same Words, Different Language, which offers groundbreaking insights to create win-win relationships between the genders and break through gender barriers. Her latest book, Leadership and the Sexes, co-authored with Michael Gurian in 2009, reveals the latest brain-based research on gender differences in leadership, and shows how to maximize the innate talents of both genders in the workplace and in the world.

    Her company, Barbara Annis & Associates, has facilitated over 3,000 corporate workshops, keynotes, and executive coaching sessions on Gender Intelligent Leadership to Fortune 500 Corporations, including Deloitte & Touche, IBM, Smith Barney Citigroup, UBS, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Intel.

    Barbara is the Chair-elect of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her extensive studies have included work with exceptional thinkers such as linguist Dr. Fernando Flores at University of California at Berkeley, neuroscientist Ruben Gur at the University of Pennsylvania, psychologist Virginia Satir, Dr. W. E. Deming, and Dr. Willis Harman, Founder of the Noetic Sciences Foundation and The World Business Academy.

    Barbara has been involved in a wide range of organizations including: Member of the Gender Leadership Team, Deloitte & Touche; Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for the Task Force of an Inclusive Public Service, Treasury Board; Co-Chair, World Business Academy; Subject Matter Expert and Member of the Advisory Board, Social Context & Gender Equality Initiative, Department of Justice; Member of the Advisory Board, Gender Integration Project, Department of National Defense; President, Canadian Women Entrepreneurs.

  • 8 Oct 2008 6:28 AM | Anonymous

    There are women throughout the world whose actions, efforts and inspiration truly do make a "World of Difference" in supporting the advancement of women. These are women who look to the world stage to make change, who show courage and determination in making a positive impact on the economic empowerment of women.

    TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes each year the extraordinary achievements of one powerful woman and affirms the power within every individual to make all the difference in the world in the betterment of women.

    This year's winner is a truly exceptional woman - a high-impact change agent who has made a significant international impact through a range of activities, all with her signature traits of determination, intelligence and grace.

    A graduate of American University of Beirut and Oxford University, Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani is an economist by training and is fluent in five languages. In 2001, she created The Arab International Women's Forum, a unique non-profit organization based in London to link Arab business and professional women in the 22 Arab countries with each other and with their counterparts in the international community. AIWF is the business voice of Arab women, breaking stereotypical images and creating greater public awareness of their success and prospects internationally.

    It is this crucial element of connecting at a high, strategic level many different spheres of influence that has particularly distinguished the work of Mrs. Al Kaylani and her organization.

    In addition to founding and acting as chairman of the AIWF, Mrs. Al Kaylani is Vice President of the Women's Leadership Board of Harvard University. She is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement, the Khalil Gibran Chair at the University of Maryland, the Middle East Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and the Tanaka Business School at the Imperial College, London. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Edutrust Foundation.

    In 2006, Mrs. Al Kaylani was named by Women's eNews of New York, one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and in February 2007, she was named one of the Muslim Power 100 Leaders in the United Kingdom, receiving the Education Excellence Award.

  • 8 Oct 2007 6:28 AM | Anonymous

    Dr. Riane Eisler is an eminent social scientist, macro-historian attorney, and activist for human rights, peace and the environment. Author of the international bestseller The Chalice and The Blade, now in 22 languages, Dr. Eisler is recognized worldwide as a leading expert on the link between economic and business policies and the quality of our daily lives. She has, for many years, lent a strong voice to the global issues that impact women, stressing that the greatest problems of our time-poverty, inequality, war, terrorism, and environmental degradation, among them-can be traced to flawed economic systems that fail to value and support the most essential human work: caring for people and the planet. In her new book, The Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, she provides the world with a blueprint for a more humane and effective economic system. Dr. Riane Eisler is truly a woman who through her actions, efforts and inspiration makes a "World of Difference" for the advancement of women.

  • 8 Oct 2006 6:27 AM | Anonymous

    Laura Liswood, Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders has made a difference locally, nationally and a major difference to women around the world. From 1992-1996 as director of the Women’s Leadership Project at Harvard, Laura identified global leadership contributions by women heads of state. She traveled the world and interviewed 15 current and former women presidents and prime ministers, which is chronicled in her book and video documentary, Women World Leaders. Her quest was to find out what it would take for a woman to become President of the United States.

    In August, 1996 Laura Liswood co-founded the Council of Women World Leaders with President Vigdis Finnbogadóttir of Iceland, with the secretariat at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and more recently at The Aspen Institute in Washington DC

    Laura remains Secretary General of the Council, which is composed of women presidents, prime ministers, and heads of government. The work of the Council expands the understanding of leadership, establishes a network of resources for high-level women leaders, and provides a forum for the group to contribute input and shape the international issues important to all people.

    Laura has worked for many years to change the cultural message in the United States about women as leaders. In 1997 Laura co-founded The White House Project, dedicated to electing a woman President in the United States. Obviously we still have a way to go with this one.

    Over the years Laura has served in many important roles including CEO/President of the American Society for Training and Development. In 2001 Laura was named Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldmann Sachs. "On behalf of The International Alliance for Women it gives me great pleasure to present this, the 2006 TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award”.

  • 8 Oct 2005 6:24 AM | Anonymous

    Sally Armstrong is a Human Rights Activist, an Amnesty International award winner, a member of the Order of Canada, documentary filmmaker, teacher, author, and a contributing editor at Maclean’s magazine.

    Regularly receiving standing ovations, Sally Armstrong is a powerful and engaging speaker whose far-ranging career has given her a foundation for her message, which is inspirational for people in every walk of life.

    Armstrong has covered stories in zones of conflict all over the world. From Bosnia and Somalia to Rwanda and Afghanistan, her eyewitness reports have earned her awards, including the Gold Award from the National Magazine Awards foundation and the Author's Award from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters. She received the Amnesty International Media Award in 2000 and again in 2002. Her most recent documentary works include They Fell From the Sky, and The Daughters of Afghanistan. Her book Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan was published by Penguin Books.

    Sally Armstrong is also the author of The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor; Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan’s Women; and her most recent title, Ascent of Women: Our turn, Our Way: A Remarkable Story of World-Wide Change.

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