Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Jury of the UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD

The five members of the independent UNESCO International Jury for the Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) have been newly selected and appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO.

The jury will meet to assess the nominations and formulate the recommendations to the Director-General of UNESCO.

The jurors for the 2021 edition are:

H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma (Burkina Faso)

H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma (Burkina Faso) - Chair

H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma is a Mossi Princess from Burkina Faso and a leading representative of the traditional authorities in Africa. She is the Initiator and Leader of the MAMA-LIGHT® Initiative for Sustainable Energy, recognized by UN as one of the 14 breakthrough solutions achieving the SDGs. With her over 20 years of experience of rural development and working with local communities, she has become an internationally recognized role model for empowerment of women and youth in developing countries. She has several important positions including Administrator of the “West Africa Solar Pack”, the Chair of the H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma Foundation, and Commissioner of the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty. She served as deputy head of Burkina Faso’s delegation of the COP23, 24 and 25 as well as Member of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) Technical Committee.


Mr Arjen Wals (Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Mr Arjen Wals (Kingdom of the Netherlands) - Deputy Chair

Mr Arjen Wals is a Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability at Wageningen University in The Netherlands and a Guest Professor on Whole School Approaches to Sustainability at the Norwegian Life Sciences University (NMBU). He also holds the UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development. His teaching and research focus on designing learning processes and learning spaces that enable people to contribute meaningfully sustainability. A central question in his work is: how to create conditions that support (new) forms of learning which take full advantage of the diversity, creativity and resourcefulness that is all around us, but so far remain largely untapped in our search for a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect? Mr Wals maintains a popular blog. See brief video of his key mission.


Ms Nouzha Alaoui (Kingdom of Morocco)

Ms Nouzha Alaoui (Kingdom of Morocco)

Ms Nouzha Alaoui, Secretary-General of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, has a wealth of experience in the field of environment and sustainable development. For last two decades, under the leadership of H.R.H Princess Lalla Hasnaa, Ms Alaoui has led the Foundation to be evolved from an impactful aspiration into an established and recognized institution. She is an active and committed ESD promoter as Member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council of the Kingdom of Morocco, Member of the Scientific Committees of COP22, the World Environmental Education Congress, the Education and Communication Commission of the international Union for Conservation of Nature as well as the Mission 4.7 Education Task Force of experts. Previously, she held managerial positions in the Private Sector. She has academic background in sustainable development, organizational management and leadership in civil society organizations. 

Ms Nobuko Kayashima (Japan)

Ms Nobuko Kayashima (Japan)

Ms Nobuko Kayashima is Senior Research Advisor of JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development. She joined JICA after having graduated from Kyoto University, Japan in 1982, and has been playing a leading role in the planning and operation of JICA’s education cooperation programmes over the last four decades. Before taking up her current function, she served as Vice President (2018-2019) and Senior Vice President (2019–2021) of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Director of JICA Research Institute (2016–2018), Director General of the Human Development Department (2009–2014), and Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh Office (2007–2009). Ms Kayashima received her Ph.D. in international development from Nagoya University, Japan. Her current research interests include the themes related to education cooperation, internationalization of higher education, and university participation in ODA. 

Mr Dario Soto-Abril (Republic of Colombia)

Mr Dario Soto-Abril (Republic of Colombia)

Mr Dario Soto-Abril is Executive Secretary of Global Water Partnership (GWP). Before joining GWP, he served as Global CEO at Fairtrade International. He has extensive experience in strengthening partnerships with businesses, governments, and international organizations, leading transformational processes resulting in a greater focus on impact priorities and delivering positive change for millions of people around the globe. He spent the first part of his career as a corporate lawyer.