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Globalfest awards
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2021 Honorees
Simon Shaheen (Artist Award)
Afropop Worldwide (Impact Award)
Artistic Freedom Initiative (Trouble Worldwide Award)
Catalina Maria Johnson (Pioneer Award)
View the 2021 Awards Ceremony


globalFEST presents a series of annual awards that celebrate those that excel in the underrecognized but crucial global music field in the USA.

The 2022 globalFEST Awards Ceremony will take place January 27 as part of the globalFEST Wavelengths Conference:

The awards are presented to artists, professionals, and organizations who have been instrumental in making significant, long-standing contributions to the field through risk-taking; addressing cultural diversity and diplomacy; activism; helping to keep, transmit, and extend the world’s ancient traditions; commitment to working with local communities; and making a difference to the greater American performing arts landscape.

artist award

This award for sustained achievement goes to an artist or group living or working substantially in the US who has made a lasting impression with their music in the US, their homeland, or around the world. Whether through innovation, activism, dynamism, or commitment to preparing the next generation, this award acknowledges the impact artists have at home and abroad.

Previous Honorees: Meklit (2021), Kayhan Kalhor (2020), Mighty Sparrow / Slinger Francisco (2019), Thomas Mapfumo (2018)

Impact award

This award goes to a professional (artist, group, organization, theater/venue/festival or any member of the global music community) living or working substantially in the US at any stage in their career, who has earned respect and praise from the global music community for their outstanding commitment to the field.

Previous Honorees: Serdar Ilhan and Mehmet Dede at DROM NYC (2021), Tom Schnabel (2020), Leigh Ann Hahn (2019), Michael Orlove (2018)

Trouble Worldwide Award

This award is named after Alex Nova, who – through her tireless, joyful efforts on behalf of bringing people together through music – left an indelible mark on the global music field. It is presented to an industry professional who exemplifies her spirit: artist-centered, innovative, risk-taking, and generous. 

The Trouble Worldwide Award goes to a non-performing professional living or working substantially in the US who has made an indisputable impact on the global music field through risk taking, innovation, and tireless commitment. Alex’s huge, open heart will be missed beyond words, and this annual award in her honor and memory will help us always remember what a force she was. 

Previous Honorees: Alison Loerke (2021), Lisa Stafford (2020), Matthew Covey and Tamizdat (2019), Alexandra Nova (2018)

Pioneer Award (Semi-Annual)

The Pioneer Award goes to a member of the global music community (including performing arts professionals, artists, groups, organizations, or theater/venue/festival) living or working substantially in the US who is considered a pioneer or elder whose work has been deeply felt and has had a significant impact in the field.

Previous Honoree: Ismael Ahmed (2021), Lee Williams (2019)


Goals & Mission

The awards aim to promote the global music field as a whole, and to highlight the significance of extraordinary work being done each and every day, season by season, show by show. It also hopes to encourage future generations of artists and arts leaders who will improve upon, develop, and grow cultural programming in the United States.

globalFEST believes that music can be a driving force toward a society that values cultural diversity as a source of unity rather than division. By moving international music to the center of the performing arts field, globalFEST fosters a robust and sustainable ecosystem for global music in the U.S. globalFEST’s programs catalyze creative and artistic networks that break down cultural and social boundaries to support and share the world’s music through performance, touring, and media. 

Important Dates

Nominees are accepted between October 4 and November 19, 2021. Current, past, or retired artists and professionals in the performing arts, recorded music, media and related fields can submit up to two nominations per category, providing each nomination is complete (incomplete nominations WILL NOT BE considered).

Initial nominations will be narrowed to a shortlist of 10 nominees per category by globalFEST. An awards committee will be brought together from a broad cross-section of professionals and artists in the field and will be the sole deciders on the final awardees.

Eligibility & Criteria

Nominees will have made significant contributions to the United States’ global music ecosystem. You must be able to articulate why you believe your nominees are deserving of this award by explaining their contributions through their actions and accomplishments so the award committee can see how significant their work has been.You can nominate yourself if you fit the criteria. Nominees need to be appropriate for the category in which they are applying.  You cannot nominate the same person for more than one award. Each professional and/or artist may submit up to two nominees per appropriate category. All nominees must be living or working substantially in the United States, either currently or during a substantial portion of their career.

Please put effort into making a real case for your nominations and why they should be considered. The jury will discuss and vote based on the information you provide. Nominees must be made through an online form. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. We will not accept anonymous submissions.