Alma Mater

Alumni Awards

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.

2023 Alumni Award Recipients

Jingdong Hua

Jingdong Hua MPA '03

Jingdong Hua is a senior leader and practitioner in international development and international finance. As vice-chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board, he oversees the development and implementation of ISSB’s strategies to support and include stakeholders in emerging and developing economies as well as small and medium-sized companies. He previously served as vice president and treasurer of the World Bank, pension finance administrator of the World Bank Group, and vice president and treasurer of the International Finance Corporation. His expertise spans a broad range of international development and capital market arenas including multilateralism, international and local capital market development, financial innovation, Africa, FinTech for financial inclusion, SDG/ESG, and impact investment.

Radha Kulkarni MPA '17

Radha Kulkarni MPA '17

Radha Kulkarni works at the intersection of finance, strategy, and policy, having worked across multilaterals, government, and private sector. She is the investment manager and leads the Innovative Financing Pathway at United Nations Children’s Fund’s new Innovative Finance Hub that works on new mechanisms to unlock global capital in support of children across 190 countries. She was also recently appointed as one of UNICEF’s Ethics and Culture Champions. Previously, she worked with UNICEF’s Private Sector team building new-age partnerships on financing, with its Youth portfolio leveraging innovative financing for young people, and with United Nations Development Programme’s Policy Bureau on Fiscal and Development Financing helping scale the work across 40 countries.

The 2023 Alumni Awards will be presented at Alumni Day on Saturday, March 25, 2023. For more information about Alumni Day, click here

Nominations for 2024 Alumni Awards are Open

Deadline for nominations: September 15, 2023

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 September 15, 2023.
  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].

Submit a nomination

Previous Recipients

Professional photo of the award recipient

2022 Distinguished Alumni Award 

Sumant Sinha MIA ’92

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.

Watch the award video here »

Professional photo of the award recipient

2022 Emerging Leader Award

Nicole Van Der Tuin MPA ’12

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.

Watch the award video here »