In recognition of the role individuals, organizations and corporations play in supporting the work of the United Nations to advance global peace and prosperity, the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) honored recipients of the 2014 Global Leadership Awards at the annual Global Leadership Dinner in New York City Wednesday night.
“Today we see many dark clouds. But I am convinced that we can stand up for UN principles and achieve the transformations we seek, the future we want. Let us work together to press all those in power to live up to their political and moral responsibilities. And let us be inspired by the honorees and other leaders here tonight to build a better world for all,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in welcoming attendees.
Also in attendance was Ted Turner, chairman and founder of the United Nations Foundation, who joined Kathy Calvin, UN Foundation president and CEO; UNA-USA executive director Christopher Whatley, and nearly 500 diplomats, policymakers, business leaders and UN supporters in celebrating the contributions of the honorees as well as the vital work of the United Nations.
"Tonight we honor leaders who believe that it can be done — and who are showing us how to do it. We have a unique opportunity to improve millions of lives, while safeguarding the planet for generations to come. The UN Foundation is dedicated to mobilizing a movement of supporters to help the UN go further and faster in building this better world," said Calvin.
The honorees recognized during the dinner were:
• Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, honored for her diplomatic command of cross-sector global relief efforts in response to humanitarian crises
• Justice Michael Kirby, UN Commissioner, Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, who received the Leo Nevas Human Rights Award for his consistent call for action against rights abuses
• Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, who received the UN Foundation’s highest honor, the Champion for Global Change Award, for his lifelong personal commitment to sustainable development and leadership in galvanizing the global community around the Post-2015 Development Agenda
• Merck & Co., in recognition of its industry leadership and corporate commitment to global health and development
• Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for their commitment to a strong American relationship with the United Nations
• Rana Abdelhamid, honored with the Leo Nevas Youth Advocate for Human Rights Award for her efforts to raise awareness of the UN and human rights mechanisms, and her empowerment of young Muslim women across the United States
The dinner, supported by Merck & Co. and the Angelica Fuentes 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 more than 50 years, the Global Leadership Awards Dinner has highlighted the crucial role the UN plays in helping advance global 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.
Also attending the event were models Behati Prinsloo and Selita Ebanks, as well as actress Kelly Rutherford. The event comes as the UN Foundation’s Board of Directors holds its semi-annual meeting in New York City.