March 28, 2014
Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership AwardUkrainian activist and musician Ruslana Lyzhychko became one of the leading figures of the Euromaidan in November 2013, when she played on stage virtually every night as protesters demanded change in Ukraine. Her involvement with the demonstrations led her to be named one of the ten most successful women of 2013 by Forbes and “Person of the Year” by Business Ukraine. This year, she has been meeting with EU leaders to request support for Ukrainian civil society and its democratic rights.
Lyzhychko first gained fame by sweeping the EuroVision song competition in 2004. Her winning single and subsequent album “Wild Dances” was warmly received in more than twenty-five countries and achieved platinum status five times. Lyzhychko dominated fourteen different music charts for ninety-seven weeks and she was the first recording artist to domestically sell 500,000 copies of an album.
In addition to her musical successes, Lyzhychko is actively committed to social issues. In 2004, she supported the democratic processes in Ukraine known as the Orange Revolution, providing a voice for the people as an outspoken member of the Ukrainian Parliament from spring 2006 to summer 2007.
In 2006, she began working with the Organization for Security and Cooperation on the global issue of human trafficking. Shortly thereafter, UNICEF appointed her goodwill ambassador of Ukraine. She has staged numerous charity concerts benefiting children’s hospitals in Kiev, L’viv, and Dnepropetrovsk, and in 2007, Lyzhychko joined artists from fourteen different countries in a major charity tour across Germany.