By Patricia Sellers
November 10, 2008

When chaos and crisis are in the air, it’s easy to shelve programs that are about building for the long-term future. That’s why I’m particularly proud that Fortune and Goldman Sachs

recently partnered to create the Goldman Sachs-Fortune Global Women Leaders Award.

This annual award is a product of the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership, which brings rising-star women from developing countries to the U.S. every May to work closely with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. It’s an unusually high-powered program, with such CEOs as Anne Mulcahy of Xerox

, Andrea Jung of Avon

, and Pat Woertz of ADM

participating as mentors.

The program, which this past May involved 35 mentees from two dozen developing countries, was conceived four years ago in the State Department office of Dina Powell. (Click here for more details.) As for the new award, which goes to an enterprising alum of the mentoring program, it also was Powell’s idea. Since leaving her assistant Secretary of State post last year and joining Goldman as managing director for corporate engagement, Powell is overseeing Goldman’s 10,000 Women program: The firm has pledged to spend $100 million over five years to help educate enterprising business women across the developing world. Since Goldman’s mission–to align with the most promising women leaders in emerging markets–is also the MPWomen’s mission, we decided to partner.

Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein came to the Fortune MPWomen Summit last month to present the first award. (Along with Warren Buffett, who was with us as well, he’s one of the few men ever invited.) Blankfein noted that mentoring and this award are not simply do-goodism. The so-called multiplier effect, which Goldman has researched intensively, holds that investing in women inordinately lifts emerging-market GDPs. And spurring this multiplier effect is the purpose of the Goldman Sachs-Fortune Award, which goes to a former mentee who has returned home and paid it forward, so to speak, most effectively.

So many of these mentoring alums have gone back home and done amazing work–launching programs in mentoring, job training, economic development–that the award committee couldn’t settle on one recipient. So the committee (which included CARE USA CEO Helene Gayle, Vital Voices chair Melanne Verveer, and Microsoft

VP Gerri Elliott) chose two receipients. One is Kenya’s Eva Muraya, who mentored with Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore in 2006. Since then, Muraya has used her communications company, Color Creations, to develop a raft of programs to help unemployed youth in Kenya become entrepreneurs.

Eva Muraya and Phyllis Mwangi, carrying Kenya flags, flank Goldman Sachs’ Dina Powell.

Phyllis Mwangi, also from Kenya, runs Edge Consulting, which does HR training. After her mentoring experience with Wells Fargo

EVP Kathleen Vaughan two years ago, Mwangi founded Zahiria, a not-for-profit that employs women in Kibera, a vast slum in Nairobi, to make crafts. Vaughan, through her family foundation called Bridge for Africa, has helped Mwangi sell these crafts in the U.S. This ongoing mentor-mentee partnership demonstrates the “pay it forward” credo. As we congratulate our award-winning mentees, we urge them to use their $25,000 checks to pay it forward, on and on.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Warren Buffett help honor Muraya and Mwangi.

Photographs by Maryanne Russell Photography

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