As graduates of the world’s most global public policy school, SIPA's 24,000 alumni are making an impact on communities large and small throughout the 160 countries in which they live and work. The SIPA Alumni Association honors alumni for their achievements and extraordinary contributions to improving their communities - locally, nationally, and globally - and for service to SIPA. In honoring such alumni, the SIPA Alumni Association considers many factors that are unique to a school with such a diverse and international student body, and strongly encourages SIPA alumni and supporters from across the globe to submit nominations of individuals they believe merit such recognition.

The SIPA Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually or as otherwise determined by the Board of the SIPA Alumni Association (the “Board”) on behalf of the Alumni Association to honor alumni who have graduated at least 10 years previously and have demonstrated distinguished achievement in their chosen field or accomplishments and service to SIPA.

The SIPA Emerging Leader Award is presented annually or as otherwise determined by the Board to honor alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years and have demonstrated distinguished achievement in their chosen field or accomplishments and service to SIPA.

Nominations for 2023 ARE NOW OPEN

There are a few specific nomination requirements and criteria to consider, including (i) self-nominations are not accepted; nor should a candidate be informed of his or her nomination, (ii) alumni who graduated within 10 years of the nomination deadline are eligible for the Emerging Leader Award except graduates of SIPA’s Executive MPA program who are instead eligible for the SIPA Distinguished Alumni Award, and (iii) members of the Alumni Association Awards Committee are not eligible to receive awards while serving on the Committee. 

Nomination instructions:

  1. Before submitting the nomination form at the link below, collect as much available information about your nominee as possible including their name, SIPA degree and year, professional title and employer, and contact details (home and professional).
  2. Provide a detailed statement of the reasons why this nominee is a strong candidate for the award. To the extent possible, please describe the nominee’s achievements and experience in their chosen field, including leadership roles, awards, or recognition, as well as professional, civic, or community engagement, and engagement with Columbia SIPA as a graduate.
  3. Nominations are strengthened by letters of support from those who are familiar with the nominee’s achievements in their chosen field and/or service to SIPA.  These letters can be addressed to the SIPA Alumni Association Awards Committee and sent directly to SIPA’s Office of Alumni Affairs at [email protected].
  4. All nomination forms and letters of support should be submitted by the nomination deadline of Monday, October 10, 2022.
  5. For any questions about the nomination process or submitting letters of support, please contact Susan Storms, Director of Alumni Affairs, at (212) 854-8598 or [email protected].


Nomination Form



Sumant Sinha MIA ’92

2022 Distinguished Alumni Award 

Sumant Sinha is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of ReNew Power, one of India’s leading renewable energy companies. He has been at the forefront of India’s clean energy expansion and is recognized around the world as a leading entrepreneur and advocate for sustainable development and solutions to climate change.

Nicole Van Der Tuin MPA ’12

2022 Emerging Leader Award

Nicole Van Der Tuin is the Chief Growth Officer at Accion Opportunity Fund and co-founder and former CEO of First Access. First Access was conceived while Nicole was a student at SIPA and has grown into an award-winning fintech company that enables data-driven credit across emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.