One Young World Politician of the Year 2020 - Judges Announced

POTY 2020 Judges Announcement Graphic 2

One Young World announces expert panel of judges for the third annual One Young World Politician of the Year Award


The One Young World Politician of the Year Award is an initiative designed to recognise five outstanding politicians under the age of 35, from anywhere in the world, who are using their positions to have a positive impact on young people in their communities and countries.

The expert judging panel has been invited by One Young World to choose five winners who have created a meaningful impact in their home countries. Through exceptional leadership these young politicians show the benefit of young people's involvement in politics. 

The shortlisted nominees are currently under review by One Young World’s expert judging panel, who will decide the five winners. The judges are:

  • Helen Clark – former Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • Jan Peter Balkenende - former Prime Minister of the Netherlands 
  • Senator Sherry Rehman - the first female leader of the Opposition in Pakistan
  • Tara Houska - tribal attorney and former advisor on Native American Affairs for Bernie Sanders
  • Thuli Madonsela - former Public Protector and one of the writers of the South African constitution
  • Yuriko Koike - current and first female Governor of Tokyo 

The Judges




Helen Clark

Helen Clark is a former New Zealand Prime Minister, elected as the second woman to hold that office, and she is a former UNDP Administrator.

She currently Chairs the Boards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Clark also serves on other public good Advisory Boards. Clark is a frequent contributor to Conferences, and events, on issues related to Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Women’s Leadership. In 2019, she became the patron of the Helen Clark Foundation, which is an independent, non-partisan public policy think tank in New Zealand.

Jan Peter Balkenende

Professor Jan Peter Balkenende was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 2002 to 2010. He received a masters degrees in history and law at VU University Amsterdam, followed by a Ph.D. on government regulation and civil society organisations. During 2011-2016, Balkenende worked as a Partner at EY on corporate responsibility and international affairs. Since 2016, he is an External Senior Advisor to EY and since 2017 a member of the Supervisory Board of ING. Currently, Balkenende chairs the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition, the Major Alliance and the Noaber Foundation. Recently, he became a Member of the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid. He is a Professor of Governance, Institutions and Internationalisation at Erasmus University Rotterdam since 2010.

Sherry Rehman

Senator Sherry Rehman is the Parliamentary Leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Senate, as well as the party’s Vice-President. She is the Founding Chair and serving President of the Jinnah Institute, Chair of the Climate Change Caucus in Parliament, Chair of the CPEC Committee in Senate and Chair of PPP’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. She is a third-term Parliamentarian, diplomat, journalist, and civil society activist who has received Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz. Rehman has served as the Leader of the Opposition in Senate, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting. She has held additional portfolios of Health, Women Development, and Culture as a Federal Minister. Rehman has received several awards including the title of Democracy’s Hero; The Freedom Award for her work for media independence; the International Peace Award for Democrats; and the Jeanne Kirkpatrick Award for Women. Identified as one of the Top Global Thinkers of 2011 by Foreign Policy magazine, she was cover-titled by Newsweek Pakistan as “Pakistan’s Most Important Woman”.

Tara Houska

Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) is a tribal attorney, founder of Giniw Collective, and a former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders. She spent six months on the frontlines fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and is currently engaged in the movement to defund fossil fuels and a years-long struggle against Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. She is a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, a group committed to positive representation of Native peoples.

She is a TED speaker, gave a Harvard keynote, received an “Awesome Women Award” from Melinda Gates, is featured in “Women: A Century of Change” by National Geographic, and was named an “Icon” on the cover of Outside Magazine’s 40th Anniversary edition. Houska has contributed to the New York Times, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Indian Country Today and been featured on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Democracy Now, and BBC. She lives in a pipeline resistance camp in Northern Minnesota.

Thuli Madonsela

Professor Thulisile “Thuli” Madonsela, an advocate of the High Court of South Africa, is the law trust chair in social justice and a law professor at the University of Stellenbosch, where she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law. She is the founder of the Thuma Foundation, an independent democracy leadership and literacy public benefit organisation and convener of the Social Justice M-Plan, a Marshall Plan-like initiative aimed at catalysing progress towards ending poverty and reducing inequality by 2030, in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Thuli Madonsela is one of the drafters of South Africa’s Constitution and co-architect of several laws that have sought to anchor South Africa’s democracy. She was the Public Protector of South Africa from 2009 to 2016. She is credited with transforming the institution by enhancing its effectiveness in promoting good governance and integrity – including ethical governance and anticorruption in state affairs – through her reports, jurisprudence on the powers of the Public Protector and introduction of ADR. She is the architect of the OR Tambo Declaration on the minimum standards for an effective ombudsman institution and cooperation with the African Union on strengthening good governance and co-founder of the African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and served as AORC’s founding chairperson.

She is the co-founder and one of the inaugural leaders of the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA). She has been named one of Time 100’s Most Influential People in the World in 2014, Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2016 and one of BBC’s 100 Women.

Yuriko Koike

Yuriko Koike was born in 1952 in the Hyogo Prefecture, and graduated with a BA in Sociology from Cairo University in 1976. Since July 2016, Yuriko Koike has held the position of governor of Tokyo. She is the city’s first female governor. Before being elected as Governor of Tokyo, she held numerous positions in Japanese politics, such as Minister of the Environment (from 2003), Minister of Defence (from 2007), and Director of the Committee on Budget at the House of Representatives (from 2011). She is currently leading Tokyo towards holding the 2021 Olympics.