Celaya photo April2020

1988 UWC-USA graduate receives 2020 Giulio Regeni Impact Impact Award

Congratulations to Rene Celaya ‘88 for receiving the 2020 Giulio Regeni Alumni Impact Award. In his current role, Rene provides early learning opportunities for displaced and host community children affected by the Syrian conflict in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and northern Syria. Congratulations also to finalists Anna Wieslander ‘87 and Kimi Jackson ‘91.

Rene Celaya ‘88 (2020 Impact Award Recipient) is vice president for humanitarian programs at Sesame Workshop. He leads an innovative collaboration between Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee to deliver urgent early childhood development support to families through classrooms and health clinics. The effort also involves the all-new Arabic-language Sesame TV show Ahlan Simsim, which is broadcast in 20 countries across the Middle East and North Africa. Rene’s UWC-USA experience shaped his professional path towards a career of more than 25 years in international development work as he became a leader in humanitarian strategy and practice. He has supported, implemented and led programs that created social and economic opportunities for vulnerable families in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. 

Anna Wieslander ‘87 (2020 Finalist) serves as director for Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council and heads the AC office in Stockholm. The Atlantic Council is a non-partisan American think tank on foreign policy. She is also the chairwoman of the Institute for Security and Development Policy, a Stockholm-based think tank with a focus on Central Asia and Asia. Anna also serves as secretary general of the Swedish Defence Association, a non-political NGO that for almost 130 years has promoted knowledge on defence and security among the Swedish public.

Kimi Jackson ‘91 (2020 Finalist) is the director of the American Bar Association’s South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project in Harlingen. Before becoming director in 2014, she served as the managing attorney of ProBAR’s Children’s Project. Located near the Texas/Mexico border and Gulf of Mexico where there’s a high concentration of immigration detention facilities, ProBAR’s team of more than 160 attorneys, paralegals, social workers and other staff serves adults and unaccompanied children facing deportation proceedings.

The Giulio Regeni Alumni Impact Award is conferred annually on a UWC-USA alumna/us whose work and life are exemplars of the UWC mission. The winner each year is a featured speaker at graduation. Learn more about the Giulio Regeni Alumni Impact Award here.


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