Her Majesty Queen Noor and Honoree Nathan Collett

IIE New Leaders Group Award For Mutual Understanding

"Mutual understanding across the boundaries of continents, nations, social class, religions and cultures takes time and collaboration. Thanks to IIE, the Fulbright Program and the New Leaders Group, a profound understanding between Kenya and the USA has been developed."
—Nathan Collett, Winner, 2009 IIE New Leaders Group Award for Mutual Understanding

Photo: Her Majesty Queen Noor and Honoree Nathan Collett at the 2009 New Leaders Group Benefit

The Award

In 2005, the Institute of International Education (IIE) New Leaders Group created the IIE New Leaders Group Award for Mutual Understanding to recognize the outstanding work of one current or recent Fulbright grantee who actively promotes mutual understanding between the United States and another country. The individual whose work is judged to have the most impact will receive a $5,000 Award to continue the project. The IIE New Leaders Group will select the winner. The project being recognized must be an ongoing activity that is currently underway; it cannot be a proposal for a project to be done in the future. The Award can be for work in any field. The intent of this Award is to recognize some of the best and the brightest young professionals and to encourage them to contribute and further promote their innovative ideas, valuable knowledge and dedication to the cause of mutual understanding with the $5,000 Award.

Learn more about the IIE New Leaders Group


  • To promote mutual understanding in the U.S. and another country
  • To recognize accomplishment and those who are committed to international cooperation
  • To inspire others in the U.S. and across the globe
  • To motivate current and future IIE grantees to promote mutual understanding


Geographic restriction: The Award will be for activities that promote mutual understanding between any country of the world and the United States. The Award must involve the United States.
Discipline/Field: There are no limits on the disciplines or fields supported. Individuals from any academic field or discipline are eligible.
Academic training: The Award is limited to current or recent Foreign and U.S. Fulbright Student or Scholar grantees.
Amount of award: $5,000. Award funds must be used to further develop the project.

The winner is announced bi-annually in the Spring/Summer. The recipient will be honored and asked to speak about the impact of this Award on their project at an IIE New Leaders Group event in the Spring/Summer.

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee for the Award will be the members of IIE’s New Leaders Group, composed of young leaders from the fields of art, journalism, business, education, finance, and technology who are committed to fostering leadership and mutual understanding internationally.

2015 NLG Grand Prize Winner

Mohammed Behroozian, Fulbright Student, Afghanistan to U.S.
Mohammed was selected as the winner in recognition of his Fulbright documentary film project, “Heading South” and the transformative impact that it will make on advancing and exploring cultural diversity between the U.S. and Afghanistan.

2015 NLG Prize Runners-up:

Athena Lao, Fulbright Student, U.S. to Bulgaria
Athena was selected as a runner-up in recognition of her Fulbright project, “BEST (Bulgarian English Speech and debate Tournaments) Foundation” and the measurable impact that it will have on developing a summer camp to promote further dialogue between Americans and Bulgarians.

Lan Nguyen, Fulbright Student, Vietnam to U.S.
Lan was selected as a runner-up in recognition of her project, “Tele-medicine Technologies for the Treatment of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in Vietnam” and the significant impact that it will have on disseminating innovative healthcare practices in the U.S. to health care practitioners in Vietnam to garner attention and funding to create even greater impact and awareness about the problem of TB in the country.

Past Prize Winners

2013 NLG Grand Prize Winner:

Kym Cole, Fulbright Student, U.S. to Cambodia
Kym received the NLG Grand Prize for her project, “Sarus Interprise,” which looks at filling the gap in youth-led social enterprise in Cambodia through training, mentorship, and seed funding. Kym's project enables invaluable cross cultural exchange among Cambodians and Americans, while also providing trainings and workshops in the field of social enterprise that will enhance their capacity. Following this preparation, participants will design and execute small-scale entrepreneurial ventures.

2013 NLG Prize First Runner-up:

Anne Mathieson, Fulbright Student, U.S. to Sweden
Anne was recognized for her project “Sweden and the Organization for Prostitution Survivors: Moving Washington Towards Greater Gender Equality,” which increases awareness about and seeks to address human trafficking in the state of Washington based on the policy model that Sweden successfully implemented.

2013 NLG Prize Second Runner-up:

George Dong, Fulbright Student, U.S. to China
George's project “Education in Sight” addresses the need for comprehensive eye care among students in rural China and aims to connect Chinese and American classrooms through an online platform.

2011 Grand Prize Winner:

Colleen O’Neal, Fulbright Scholar, U.S. to Malaysia
Colleen received the NLG Prize for her project, “The Refugee Child Health and School Success Program.” She implemented in-school, urban mental health screening and treatment in Malaysian refugee classrooms to increase access to quality mental health services. The short-term impact of her project put into place a tested, culturally-adapted, larger refugee mental health program. The long-term impact of her project will not only reach more refugee children and teachers, but also create a local network of understanding and services among the refugee schools, universities, and the Malaysian government. Colleen is a professor at the University of Maryland in the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services. Colleen was honored at a winter reception at IIE.

2011 NLG Prize Runner-up:

Kathleen Mulligan, Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, U.S. to India
Kathleen was recognized for her project “Wheels to Women,” which partners young performing artists in the U.S. with residents of a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Kerala, India as a means of transportation for the shelter staff to rescue women and children in dangerous situations, and a source of revenue for the women in the shelter.

2009 Grand Prize Winner:

Nathan Collett, Fulbright Student, U.S. to Kenya
Nathan received the NLG Prize for his projects Kibera Kid and "Call and Response." Kibera Kid is an award winning short film set in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya and provides a window into the daily life of youth who live in one of Africa’s largest urban slums. "Call and Response" is an ongoing video exchange between the youth of Kibera and youth in the U.S., providing them the opportunity to reach across cultural, economic and national boundaries to share their interests and ideas through video. Nathan now lives in Nairobi, and with the support of the $5,000 NLG Award founded Hot Sun Films and its non-profit arm Hot Sun Foundation. The Foundation works with youth in Kibera to train and make films that present positive possibilities within the dynamic of urban African slums. Nathan was presented with the New Leaders Group Award for Mutual Understanding by Her Majesty Queen Noor at the 2009 New Leaders Group Benefit.

Learn more about the 2009 New Leaders Group Benefit

2009 NLG Prize Runner-ups:

Rebecca Cammisa, Fulbright Scholar, U.S. to Mexico
Rebecca was recognized for her documentary film Which Way Home about child migrants, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010. Watch a video of Rebecca discussing her Fulbright experience and the film.

Anurag Gupta, Fulbright Student, U.S. to South Korea
Anurag was recognized for his work with the "Opening Possibilities Program," which creates educational and employment opportunities for marginalized youth and women in Burma.

Justin Hakuta, Fulbright Student, U.S. to the Philippines
Justin was recognized for his work with "The Human Trafficking Project," a non-profit that creates art to raise awareness about human trafficking and to support organizations that rehabilitate survivors of trafficking.

Courtney McClogan, Fulbright Student, U.S. to China
Courtney was recognized for her project, WOKAI, a capital-contributing microfinance intermediary in the China microfinance field.

2007 Grand Prize Winner:

Hala Al-Saraf, Fulbright Student, Iraq to U.S.
Hala completed a Master's in Public Health while on a Fulbright Fellowship at Columbia University. She received the NLG Prize for her project: "THINK" (Towards Healthier Innovation and Networking Knowledge), an interactive, online, distance-learning forum for Iraqi and U.S. medical students. In partnership with several U.S. medical universities, THINK would provide Iraqi students in Baghdad Medical College access to medical school courses, scholastic materials, and educational resources. With the support of the $5,000 NLG Award, Hala expanded her project THINK into a national NGO in Iraq that includes a diverse team of health professionals representing a religious and ethnic mix of Iraqi men and women.

Hala was presented with the New Leaders Group Award for Mutual Understanding by H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa at the 2007 New Leaders Group Benefit.

2005 Grand Prize Winner:

Diana Ferrero, Fulbright Student, Italy to the U.S.
Diana completed a Master’s degree in Journalism while on a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She received the inaugural NLG Award in recognition of her documentary film, They Call Me Muslim that chronicles two tales of the hijab through the voice and symmetric profile of two young women in Paris and in Tehran. The $5,000 NLG Prize helped Diana to complete her film and screen it into the Lincoln Center Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. Diana is currently working for Al-Jazeera in Washington, D.C.

Diana was presented the New Leaders Group Award for Mutual Understanding by the Honorable Henry Kissinger at the 2005 New Leaders Group Benefit.


New Leaders Group Award
Institute of International Education, 9th Floor
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Tel: +1 212.984.5310
E-mail: nlgaward@iie.org