Tongan leader and PLP partner receives global leadership award

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March 7 2016: Tongan civil society leader and long-term Pacific Leadership Program partner Mrs. Siale Emeline Ilolahia was awarded an inaugural Jose Edgardo Campos Collaborative Leadership Award in Washington DC today.

The Jose Edgardo Campos Collaborative Leadership Awards recognise the contributions of outstanding individuals in the area of collaborative leadership and coalition building in a developing country context. The Awards were instituted in the memory of Jose Edgardo Campos, who used collaborative leadership to drive successful reform programs, including in his home country of the Philippines. Mr. Campos was a Practice Manager for Leadership and Governance at the World Bank Institute and passed away in 2014.

The Pacific Leadership Program nominated Mrs. Ilolahia for the Oceania region, for her efforts in building and supporting coalitions for change in Tonga. As Executive Director and co-founder of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga, she has been instrumental in bringing together and supporting coalitions working on issues as diverse as women’s access to finance, women’s leadership and political participation, and deep sea mining.

Mrs. Ilolahia was also a founding member of the Tonga National Leadership Development Forum, a group of leaders from a range of sectors who developed a National Leadership Code for Tonga. The Leadership Code defines Tonga’s vision for good leadership and reflects progressive leadership norms of accountability and transparency. In developing the Leadership Code, Mrs Ilolahia helped facilitate nationwide community conversations on leadership and what it means in to the Tongan people. More than 20,000 people have now signed up to the code and committed to uphold its values (a significant figure in the context of a total population of just over 100,000), including King Tupou VI, the Queen, Crown Prince, Princess Mata’aho, the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet.

The Pacific Leadership Program’s Team Leader, Georgina Cope, confirmed Mrs. Ilolahia was a worthy recipient of the Award.  “We are thrilled that Siale’s hard work and talents have been recognised internationally. Over the past decade, she has worked tirelessly with civil society actors and government to encourage collaboration for policy and other reforms in Tonga”, Ms Cope explained. “Under Siale’s leadership, Tonga’s civil society has become a force for development change which is helping everyday Tongans build a strong voice that is being heard by government and the nobility”.

The Jose Edgardo Campos Collaborative Leadership Awards were presented by the Global Partnership on Leadership for Development at the Global Leadership Forum currently underway in Washington, DC.

Other Awards recipients are Sir Fazle Abed, Bangladesh (Asia), Paula Gaviria Betancur, Colombia (South America) and Sofiane Ben Mohammed Sahraoui, Tunisia (MENA, Africa).

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