In recognition of the roles individuals, organizations, and corporations play in supporting the work of the United Nations to advance global peace, justice, and prosperity, the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) honored recipients of the 2013 Global Leadership Awards at the annual Global Leadership Dinner in New York City Wednesday night.
The event also celebrated the 70th Anniversary of UNA-USA, and recognized the 15-year legacy of leadership of former UN Foundation President and current Board Vice Chair Timothy E. Wirth, who was honored with the Champion for Global Change award.
Actress, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist Jane Fonda served as Emcee for the evening. Fonda joined UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner, UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin, UNA-USA Executive Director Christopher Whatley and nearly 500 diplomats, policymakers, business leaders, and UN supporters in recognizing the honorees and the critical work of the United Nations.
“We are honoring those who champions who, like Ted, know that the UN is essential. It is essential,” said Fonda. “And they’re working alongside the UN and the UN Foundation to address the world’s most pressing problems.”
“We live in a time of great change when we are all challenged to think differently, act innovatively, and come up with new solutions to complex and evolving problems” said Calvin. “At the Global Leadership Dinner, a remarkable community of UN supporters comes together to recognize leaders who have done incredible work to create a better world for everyone. Our distinguished honorees represent the best examples of a global network working to reduce poverty, improve health, and empower girls and women around the world.”
The honorees recognized during the dinner were:
• Malala Yousafzai, honored for her role as a global activist on behalf of educating and empowering girls worldwide;
• Frontline polio workers, honored for their commitment to vaccinating those who live with the threat of contracting polio;
• The Documentary Group and 10×10 for Girl Rising, honored for its efforts to ensure all girls receive an education;
• GE Africa, honored for its commitment to the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Every Women Every Child initiative and for building partnerships across Africa to advance country-owned solutions, innovation and development in health care;
• Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, was presented the Leo Nevas Human Rights Award for her enduring commitment to the global advancement of human rights and a strong U.S.-UN relationship;
• Senator Timothy E. Wirth, former UN Foundation President, and current Board Vice Chair, recipient of the Champion for Global Change Award, was honored for his leadership in advancing women’s rights, sustainable development, and climate security throughout his career, including his 15-year legacy as President of the UN Foundation.
“We are going to fight for our rights and for the rights of every child all over the world,” said Malala. “And I am hopeful that if we are united, if we struggle, then we can achieve our goals. And today it just seems like a dream to see every child educated, but believe — believe in one thing — that today’s dreams become tomorrow’s realities.”
The dinner, hosted by the UN Foundation, benefits UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms Model UN program to provide education and leadership opportunities to under-resourced middle and high school students. Together with its sister organization, the Better World Campaign, the organizations represent the largest network of UN supporters in the U.S.
For 56 years, the Global Leadership Awards Dinner has called attention to the vital role the UN plays in helping the global community advance peace, prosperity and justice. It recognizes individuals and organizations for their outstanding leadership in furthering the purposes of the United Nations Charter and advancing UN causes — from global health and economic development, to human rights, education, and environmental sustainability.
“The hundreds of UNA backers who attended the dinner helped pave the way for the emerging leaders of today’s youth generation by supporting our Global Classrooms program,” said Whatley. “We are grateful for their support, and for the inspiration of the global leaders honored at the dinner.”
The event comes on the heels of meetings of the UN Foundation’s Board of Directors and Global Entrepreneurs Council, which concluded their semi-annual meetings in New York City before joining the network of UN supporters at the Global Leadership Dinner.
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