Asia Society recognizes Indian-American Indra Nooyi, and Nepali runner Mira Rai among other “Game Changers”

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PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi poses for a portrait by products at the Tops SuperMarket in Batavia, New York, U.S. on June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Don Heupel/File Photo

NEW YORKPepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi has been selected as Asia Society’s Game Changer of the Year for 2018 in recognition of her pioneering business achievements, humanitarian record, and advocacy for women and girls around the world.

Nooyi leads a slate of women, including a team of Afghan girls who have made waves at international robotics competitions and Mira Rai, a record-shattering runner from a small village in Nepal, an Aug. 23, press release from the organization said.

Reuters / Monday, July 17, 2017: The all-girl team from Afghanistan prepares at FIRST Global’s First International Robot Olympics in Washington. A team of Afghan girls competed in an academic robotics competition in the United States after American officials agreed to allow them to enter the country despite initially denying them visas. The team won a silver medal for “courageous achievement”. (Photo: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Nooyi, who this month announced she would be stepping down as CEO of PepsiCo early next year, was that company’s first-ever female CEO, joining only a handful of women as leaders of Fortune 500 companies. During her 12-year tenure, she not only established initiatives to meet the changing demands of consumers, increased the company’s net revenue more than 80 percent, and saw share price nearly double; she also led efforts — such as Women With Purpose and Spark A Future, Asia Society noted. Under Nooyi’s leadership, PepsiCo was consistently rated among the top workplaces for women. Nooyi also transformed PepsiCo into a more environmentally sustainable and health-conscious company, the press release said.

“Indra Nooyi is truly a transformational leader,” Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran, is quoted saying. “In my United Nations work, I have witnessed firsthand her humanitarian leadership, as she steered Pepsi’s life-saving collaboration with the United Nations on food, nutrition, global water, climate, and women’s empowerment issues,” Sheeran added.

The group of Game Changers includes: the Thai rescuers who saved a dozen teenage soccer players in a flooded cave; the Japanese first responders who risked their lives following the tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima; the founder of the Syrian White Helmets, whose volunteers are among the few “first responders” remaining in that country; a global champion for “green cities” — Wang Shi of China; Dr. Munjed Al Muderis  — a pioneering surgeon who has brought new hope for amputees; and the founders of Koolulam — a musical phenomenon that aims to bridge the most difficult ethnic and religious divides.

This is the fifth time that Asia Society and Citi have given prominence to Asia-Pacific individuals and organizations who are making positive differences in the lives of others. The awards will be presented at the 5th Annual Asia Game Changer Awards Dinner and Celebration in New York City on October 9, at Cipriani 25 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The event will also feature the first-ever U.S. performance of Koolulam.

Previous recipients of the Asia Game Changer Awards include India’s champion for literacy Madhav Chavan; The Aga Khan, founder of the Aga Khan Development Network; Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba; Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai; the non-profit organization Sesame Workshop; and the global architecture icon I.M. Pei.

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