Martin Burt, Founder, Fundacíon Paraguaya
Martin Burt, founder of the Paraguay Foundation, has been honored on many occasions for his achievements in helping his countrymen escape conditions of dire poverty. His work in microcredit and entrepreneurship education, particularly as Paraguay transitioned from dictatorship to democracy, has had a pivotal, lasting impact. His work as his country’s Vice Minister of Commerce and Mayor of the capital city of Asunción points to his high capacity as a leader.
However, we celebrate Mr. Burt as a master influencer of human behavior, an innovator of systems and programs that are effective because they comprehend the social realities of people they serve. Thanks to the groundbreaking combination of his “poverty stoplight” assessment approach and the Foundation’s programs, over 20,000 families—more than 100,000 individuals—have surpassed the poverty threshold, and are now living richer, more stable lives.
Martha Swai, Program Manager, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation
Ms. Swai, producer of long-running serial dramas for Radio Tanzania, changed the behavior of an entire nation by telling influential stories. Her believable characters and plot lines created compelling vicarious experiences for millions of listeners, who in turn changed their behavior in critical ways to avoid transmitting HIV. Further, Martha’s efforts elevated the status of women in Tanzania and promoted planned childbearing to curb cycles of poverty. Her success underscores what aspiring influencers should learn: telling a meaningful story can help the listener recalibrate emotionally and unlock latent sources of motivation. We join the millions of people whose lives have been improved by Martha’s efforts in gratitude and admiration of her achievements.
David Levin, Co-Founder, KIPP
Mr. Levin and his colleague Mike Feinberg founded KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) in 1994 with the intent to redefine what was possible for a classroom of public school students in Houston. Twenty years later, the KIPP system, now a national flagship in education, serves more than 58,000 students in schools in underserved communities that dramatically outperform national averages. Thanks to Mr. Levin’s influence, thousands of at-risk youth are breaking from the status quo by staying in school, graduating from high school, and entering college.
Dr. Mimi Silbert, President & CEO, Delancey Street Foundation
A master influencer, Dr. Silbert founded Delancey Street, which has enabled over 18,000 ex-felons, prostitutes, substance abusers, and others who have hit bottom to change their lives for good and successful re-enter society—at no cost to the client or taxpayer.
2010 (Inaugural Year)
Dr. Albert Bandura, David Starr Jordan Professor of Social Science in Psychology, Emeritus
During his 60-year career as a psychology professor at Stanford University, Dr. Bandura substantially advanced the world’s understanding of human behavior while promoting applications of his theories to problems as diverse as shyness, phobias, personal wellness, addiction recovery, and large-scale social change. His work has been instrumental in improving the lives of millions and has profoundly affected the entire field of psychology. He is widely recognized as the originator of social learning theory and the theory of self-efficacy—which demonstrates that people can alter their behavior to achieve their goals.