The seventh annual awards, announced today, honor creative solutions to some of the biggest issues facing communities across the globe
NEW YORK — Upwardly Global’s work supporting Afghan newcomers restarting their lives and careers in the U.S. just landed an honorable mention for Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards. Announced today, the award honors sustainable designs, innovative products, bold social initiatives, and other creative projects that are changing the world.
“We are thrilled that our work impacting Afghan newcomers is being recognized by Fast Company,” said Jina Krause-Vilmar, CEO and President of Upwardly Global. “We will continue to champion workforce inclusion for Afghan newcomers, elevate their stories and voices, and ensure that these individuals can stay and work in the U.S. through passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act.”
This year’s World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 45 winners, 216 finalists, and 300 honorable mentions — with health, climate, energy, and AI among the most popular categories. A panel of Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 2,200 entries across urban design, education, nature, politics, technology, corporate social responsibility, and more. Several new categories were added this year including rapid response, crypto and blockchain, agriculture, and workplace. The 2023 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Italy to Singapore to New Zealand.
“It’s thrilling to see the creativity and innovation that are so abundant among this year’s honorees,” said Fast Company Editor-in-Chief Brendan Vaughan. “While it’s easy to feel discouraged by the state of the world, the entrepreneurs, companies, and nonprofits featured in this package show the limitless potential to address society’s most urgent problems. Our journalists have highlighted some of the most exciting and impactful work being done today — from housing to equity to sustainability — and we look forward to seeing not only how these projects evolve but how they inspire others to develop solutions of their own.
Fast Company recognized Upwardly Global’s Afghan response work that began in August of 2021 during the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan that led to more than 76,000 Afghan newcomers entering the U.S. Upwardly Global worked with leading businesses and tech companies, as well as media, government, refugee, and interfaith partners to document the exceptional professional backgrounds and skills of thousands of Afghans and prepare them for the U.S. workforce. Upwardly Global’s work indelibly changed the lives of those it served, allowing them and their families to resettle with dignity and retain hope. It also helped lift Afghan voices to transform hiring practices, policy, and public consciousness around refugee and immigrant inclusion.
Upwardly Global’s career-support work has placed 470 Afghan professionals into well-paying, skill-aligned jobs — with annual salaries averaging over $59,000 — through one-on-one career coaching, resume-building support, and access to our network of employers. Additionally, over 4,500 Afghan evacuees utilized our Afghan-specific online learning platform, where they were able to access professional development certifications from Google and Coursera, reskilling opportunities, and other career-support resources.
In 2023, Upwardly Global is continuing to advocate for Afghan newcomers, urging Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, legislation that would help expedite pathways to permanent legal status for Afghan newcomers, expand eligibility requirements for the Special Immigrant Visa program, and create a new interagency task force to help relocate at-risk allies left behind in Afghanistan.
About the World Changing Ideas Awards
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.