Laureates cannot self-nominate - following recommendations from a wide variety of sources globally, the Institute’s Founding Director delivers the International Governors a short-list of six candidates by 31st March each year, and they make a determination on one as that year's Hillary Laureate by June. This is then ratified by the Institute’s Board of Trustees in New Zealand, whose Chair also convenes the International Governors.
There are no absolutes in how Laureates are ultimately selected. Key qualities however in all short-listed candidates are likely to include the following criteria.
- outstanding leaders in mid-career
- making a demonstrable impact in their field of endeavour
- individuals for whom being a Hillary Laureate will raise their visibility and positively impact their work
- likely to have a rapport with, and be complementary to, our earlier Laureates
- likely to actively contribute to the Institute's mission.
No-one has refused the Laureate honour. The Institute provides support and holds annual Symposia both in New Zealand and internationally, usually in the home communities of Laureates, creating integrated linkages representing the latest thinking on our chosen leadership topic. Our current topic (2016-19) is “Capital for Change”. 2009-12 was “Climate Change Solutions” and 2012-15 “Climate Equity.” Hillary Laureates are also encouraged to collaborate with former Laureates to further grow their international impact.