Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) alumna, Dr Trang Nguyen, was last week celebrated as the winner of the Princess of Girona Foundation International Award 2022.
Wildlife conservationist Trang, a previous CLP intern and winner of a 2021 CLP Future Conservationist Award, travelled to Spain last week to receive the prestigious award from the Spanish Royal Family.
The annual Princess of Girona Foundation Awards were launched in 2019 by the Princess of Girona Foundation (FPdGi) to “foster initiative and effort, scientific research and artistic creativity, solidarity and the development of talent in young (16-35 years old) entrepreneurs and innovators who are driven to build a more just world in a globalised setting, and who have the capacity to take risks and the necessary motivation to bring about changes in society.”
Trang was selected as the winner for the FPdGi International Award category by a jury of international experts, after being nominated by the Embassy of Spain in Vietnam. She was selected from a shortlist of 20 nominations from all over the world (except Spain).
Trang told us she was “overwhelmed with emotion” when she received a letter from the King of Spain informing her she had won the award. The letter read:
“I would like to express our most affectionate congratulations to you in my name, and on behalf of the Queen, our daughter Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Girona, for the Princess of Girona Foundation 2022 in its International Category.
As the jury has highlighted, we recognize your courageous and inspiring work in wildlife conservation. We also support the evaluation that the jury has made on your leadership, perseverance, and humility encouraging women across the globe to work for the protection of wildlife and for the environment.
You are, without doubt, an example and an inspiration for us all.”
In 2014, CLP placed Trang as an intern with our partner, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in Cambodia, which helped her build vital skills for her future career. “During my CLP internship, I became passionate about changing people’s attitudes and behaviours towards wildlife,” she said.
Trang is the founder and Director of Vietnamese NGO WildAct, which aims to empower women and communities to conserve at-risk ecosystems and combat the illegal trade of wildlife products in Vietnam—among many other activities. In 2020, we posted a two-part blog series about WildAct’s then brand-new initiative: Empowering Women in Conservation, a programme aiming to protect female conservationists in Vietnam from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
The new initiative, conducted in partnership with CARE Vietnam, involved anonymous surveys to uncover the scale of SGBV in Vietnam’s conservation sector for the first time; lobbied NGOs and government bodies to review their policies towards SGBV; raised awareness about SGBV in the workplace; and implemented various systems and preventative measures to support those experiencing or witnessing SGBV.
The Empowering Women in Conservation programme is just one of Trang’s many achievements recognised by her Princess of Girona Foundation International Award, which was presented to her by Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Girona, at a ceremony in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month (July 2022). Trang received a trophy to commemorate her success, and a personal prize of EUR 20,000, which she has donated to WildAct. “The award also came with some brilliant exposure in the media, mostly in Spain,” said Trang.
At the ceremony, Trang was able to meet other members of the Spanish Royal Family, including the King and Queen of Spain, and the winners of the other FPdGi award categories (Scientific Research, Arts and Literature, Business, and Social) which are only awarded to Spanish nationals. This year the award-winners were, coincidentally, all women.
This is just one of several accolades celebrating Trang’s incredible contributions to biodiversity conservation. Last year, Trang won one of CLP’s Future Conservationist Awards, for which she received a $15,000 grant to support her ground-breaking proposal to combat hunting of migratory shorebirds in the Red River Delta, Vietnam, including the Critically Endangered spoon-billed sandpiper and Endangered black-faced spoonbill.
Although the project is still in its early stages, Trang’s team has already identified 126 hunters and uncovered equipment used in poaching threatened shorebirds, and has been working with local law enforcement to develop crime prevention strategies.
As part of her CLP Team Award, Trang participated in our 2021 Conservation Management & Leadership (CML) international workshop along with 29 other emerging conservationists from 13 other countries. The workshop offers training in essential topics, such as Fundraising and Project Planning, Creative Leadership, and Behaviour Change, enabling participants to build on the knowledge and skills that will underpin their careers as conservation leaders.
What’s more, since Trang started the Empowering Women in Conservation programme in 2020, CLP has enlisted her expertise in co-facilitating the Gender & Conservation module of our 2021 and 2022 CML workshops.
Want to follow in Trang’s footsteps?
If you are an emerging conservation leader with an original project that needs financial support, why not apply for one of our Team Awards? The competition for our 2023 Team Awards is now open until 10 October, 2022 – but don’t delay – there’s a lot to do between now and the deadline! For more information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit our Grants pages.