As part of the Next Generation Leaders Program, the Catalyst Grant supports and encourages top achievement in the implementation of an NGL’s Leadership Action Plan. Catalyst Grants are annual monetary awards of up to $10,000. Awarded funds go toward further enhancing character-driven leadership and impact in the NGL’s home environment.

2019 Winners

Dael Dervishi, Albania

Dael Dervishi, a member of the 2017 cohort, is the former executive director of the National Agency of Natural Resources in Albania. During his time in the United States, he was placed at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas. He aims to reform the Albanian natural resources sector, to stimulate the economy and to promote transparency in the Albanian government. Since returning to Albania, Dervishi has also opened a training center, which focuses on developing the next generation of Albanian leaders, using the Institute’s character-driven leadership curriculum in tandem with the historical traditions of Albanian society. With this Catalyst Grant, Dervishi will be able to promote new role models for Albanian young people through scaling his leadership program and raising awareness of the importance of character-driven leadership in Albania.

Edlira Gjoni, Albania

Edlira Gjoni, a member of the 2018 cohort, is the founder of the Center for Public Impact, a leadership and civic engagement organization in Albania. During her program year in the U.S., she was placed at the Of ce of Mayor David Briley in Nashville, Tenn. Gjoni aims to enhance women’s active political participation at all levels of Albanian government and to empower female leaders. Gjoni will use her Catalyst Grant to expand the reach of the Center for Public Impact into small communities outside the political mainstream of Albania in order to identify, train and promote women as character-driven leaders.

Erkaiym Mambetalieva, Kyrgyzstan

Dr. Erkaiym Mambetalieva, a member of the 2018 cohort from Kyrgyzstan, is an anti-corruption specialist and founding director of the Anticorruption Center under the Bishkek Mayor’s Office on Corruption Prevention. During her NGL program year, she was placed at Human Rights First in Washington, D.C. In collaboration with Human Rights First, Dr. Mambetalieva created an independent anti-corruption institution back that now implements preventative mechanisms within the public and private sectors to reduce corruption in Kyrgyzstan. Dr. Mambetalieva will use her Catalyst Grant to institutionalize anti- corruption education at the universities of the Kyrgyz Republic through the training of its faculty members in order to influence behavior, promote international standards and norms, and help create future character-driven leaders.

Konstantin Popkov, Russia

Konstantin Popkov, a member of the 2015 cohort from Russia, is the founder and CEO of MyAudience, a leadership and development training center located in Yekaterinburg and Surgut. Through his time at the Boys and Girls Club of America, Popkov gained insights into running successful youth empowerment programs, which he applies to his current work with Russian youth through MyAudience. Popkov will use his Catalyst Grant to scale his leadership training efforts in Russia. He will establish a new Moscow-based leadership center designed to transform Russia’s leadership culture and develop a new generation of ethical Russian leaders.

2018 Winners

Eman El-Abd, Egypt

Eman El-Abd, a member of the 2016 cohort, works on the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in Egypt, with an emphasis on female entrepreneurship. El-Abd will use her Catalyst Grant to establish micro tailored enterprises for women and provide necessary training programs to encourage entering or returning to the formal job market.

Leon Hernandez, Venezuela

Leon Hernandez, a member of the 2016 cohort, is the founder of Por Nuestra Tierra Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is developing “Por Nuestra Tierra TV” (For Our Land TV), the first streaming channel of public service to Venezuelans. Hernandez will use his Catalyst Grant to accelerate the production of news content and facilitate new partnerships with other media organizations advocating for democratic values in Venezuela.


Peter Klotz, Hungary

Peter Klotz, a member of the 2015 cohort, is an experienced lawyer and anti-corruption expert from Hungary. Klotz will use his Catalyst Grant to bolster both an online and on-the-ground presence of the Integrity Network Association through organizing and supporting events and the development of the web-page in both Hungarian and English.

Mira Koroma, Sierra Leone

Mira Koroma, a member of the 2016 cohort and a senior police officer in her country, is the founder of the Next Generation Reformers-Sierra Leone, a nonprofit organization focused on training, mentoring and empowering youth to combat corruption in Sierra Leone. Koroma will use the Catalyst Grant to construct a Recreational and Empowerment Center for the youth of Sierra Leone.

2017 Winners

Giorgi Akhmeteli, Georgia

Giorgi Akhmeteli, a member of the 2013 cohort, is the founder and chairman of the Georgian NGO, Accessible Environment for Everyone, an organization that advocates the interests of persons with disabilities. Akhmeteli uses a wheelchair due to a spinal trauma, and through his Leadership Action Plan, he works with the Georgian Parliament on healthcare, rehabilitation and habilitation issues within the disabled, Georgian community. Akhmeteli used his Catalyst Grant to implement short-term awareness interventions and raise awareness for individuals with disabilities through seminars and personal development lectures.

Urmo Kübar, Estonia

Urmo Kübar, a member of the 2014 cohort and Civil Society Advisor to the President of Estonia, is an experienced civil society leader in Estonia. He is dedicated to promoting more civic activism and social action, building a supportive environment for civil society organizations and strengthening their capacity. His Leadership Action Plan was to establish a venture philanthropy foundation in Estonia to support non-profit organizations that make a difference in people’s lives. Kübar used his Catalyst Grant to launch a new online resource promoting philanthropic education to share important knowledge about the state of charitable giving in Estonia through data driven analysis.

Karambu Ringera, Kenya

Karambu Ringera, a member of the 2015 cohort, is the founder and president of International Peace Initiatives, an NGO that aims to create models of sustainable development and peace in Kenya. By implementing her Leadership Action Plan, she is building an advocacy agency for citizens and developing a leadership-training program to educate and train current and future leaders. Her work has received national attention in Kenya and has directly impacted 1,000 people. Dr. Ringera used her Catalyst Grant to provide material and leadership support to future New Generation Leaders around the world.

2016 Winner

Carlos Mayorga, Colombia

Carlos Mayorga, a member of he 2013 cohort, is a businessman and entrepreneur. He has made substantial and consistent progress in enhancing employment opportunities in Colombia since returning home in September 2014. He created two companies, Global Blue Hydros and Astex Colombia, to provide entrepreneurial training and English language training to the Colombian workforce to promote job competitiveness and reduce the unemployment rate.

“My mission as a business leader is focused on implementing disruptive ideas to change people’s lives. I would like to thank the staff at the McCain Institute for their trust, guidance and support. The Catalyst Grant encourages my leadership mission and I am fortunate to be the beneficiary of this wonderful recognition.”

— Carlos Mayorga, Next Generation Leader, Colombia