Recognizing feminist advocacy and collaborative leadership in global cooperation


The call for nominations is now open until December 11th.


The Karen Takacs Award is presented annually by Cooperation Canada to an individual who has notably, by virtue of working collaboratively, made a difference in the lives of women globally. The award honours outstanding collaborative leadership and commitment to promoting women’s equality. As in previous years, the Karen Takacs Award winner is honoured during International Development Week and is given the opportunity to host a workshop to share acquired expertise and experience of collaborative leadership. 

About Karen Takacs:

Karen Takacs was a celebrated and cherished leader of the Canadian international community. For over 20 years, Karen worked tirelessly to improve the lives and advance the rights of women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. Karen was a catalyst for collaboration in the Canadian international sector. Throughout her life, Karen was admired for motivating and bringing people together around a common cause. By way of encouragement, generosity, and humour, Karen led by mobilizing and supporting others. Following Karen’s passing in 2015, Cooperation Canada created an award to honour her invaluable contribution to the fight for social and economic justice, and to celebrate the unique collaborative leadership she demonstrated throughout her career, including her time as Chair of the Board of Cooperation Canada. For the Canadian global development community, The Karen Takacs Award is a symbol of feminism, collaboration, advocacy, mentorship and resilience. 

Nomination Process

Employees and volunteers of Cooperation Canada’s member organizations are invited to nominate individuals for this award.

Criteria for Selection

In order to be considered for the award, a nominee must: 

  • Be peer-nominated 
  • Identify as a feminist 
  • Reside in Canada 
  • Be a leader contributing to shifting power in the context of international cooperation, using an intersectional framework and recognizing the lasting impact of colonization on the deepening inequities in the world. 


Nomination Procedures

The committee will only review written nominations that include the following:

  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae or resume
  • At least two central nomination letters that provide detailed examples and quotes accounting for the nominee’s advocacy towards gender justice, equity and localization, and demonstrates their collaborative leadership contributions.  In each nomination letter, the nominator is asked to demonstrate the following:
    • Evidence of the nominee’s contributions to feminist advocacy for women, girls and gender-diverse folks
    • Evidence of how the nominee has put localization & community-centered partnerships at the heart of their work
    • Evidence of how the nominee has challenged power structures to combat inequity
    • Evidence of how the nominee has influenced or inspired their peers
  • If available, the committee welcomes links to websites and other documentation that describes and illustrates the nominee’s advocacy work and its impact (including letters or citations from the nominee’s collaborators and co-leaders, for example).


Expectations for Award Winner

  • Attendance, either in person or by video, at Cooperation Canada’s International Development Week event
  • Serve on The Karen Takacs Award committee for 1 year, following the receipt of the award
  • An opportunity will be provided to the winner to host a leadership-relevant workshop within the year the award is presented


The call for nominations is now open until December 11th.


The committee will review the submissions, and we will inform the nominees of the final decision in January 2023. 

Past Recipients

2021 Recipient

On February 9, Cooperation Canada presented the Karen Takacs Award to Rita Morbia for her outstanding leadership and commitment to the promotion of women’s equality. Rita exemplifies the qualities that Karen Takacs possessed; she actively promoted the movements for peace and democracy, women’s rights and indigenous self-determination.  


2020: Zaida Bastos

Former Development Partnerships Program Director for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)

Zaida Bastos (left) in Tanzania.

Zaida began working with PWRDF in 1998 and, over the years, served in several capacities, including as Africa Program Coordinator and External Funding Program Manager. Over the span of her career, she has worked for the Working Group on Refugee Resettlement, UNESCO in Paris and the United Nations Development Program in Angola. Zaida’s expertise focuses on community development, gender equality and organizational development and has worked to support effective training and the integration of prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse policies. 



2019: Liz Bernstein  Founding Director of the Nobel Women’s Initiative


2018: Beth Woroniuk  MATCH International Women’s Fund, Women Peace and Security Network Canada


  Kate McInturff  Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (received by her family)


 2017: Patricia Erb  former President and CEO of Save the Children Canada


2016: Karen Takacs (received by her family)