The UN Women for Peace Association Annual Awards Luncheon was held at the UN Nations Headquarters in the Delegates Dining Room in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Video: ANNUAL AWARDS LUNCHEON CELEBRATES 10th YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ORGANIZATION

This year, the Luncheon Chairs were Cristiana Andrade, Geoffrey Bradfield, Susan Gutfreund, Francine LeFrak, Greg Schnackel, and Ling Tian. The Young Host Committee Chair was Andrea J. Catsimatidis. Singer Mary Brown performed the opening number You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman in a cappella. UNWFPA’s Ambassador for Peace, H.R.H. The Princess Camilla of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duchess Of Castro, spoke before the awards presentation. The Master of Ceremonies was Actress and Activist Bridget Moynahan.

As has become the tradition, UN Women for Peace Association’s Chair Muna Rihani Al-Nasser and President Barbara Winston presented the awards during the ceremony, honoring individuals who have made a difference in the lives of women and girls.

This year, UNWFPA honored five distinguished women from around the world: Former First Lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo De Varela, who received the Leadership Award for her work as a Special Ambassador of UNAIDS for Latin America and as a global spokesperson for the Zero Discrimination Movement. H.E. Ambassador Nikki Haley, United States Permanent Representative to The United Nations presented National Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sheikha Rima Al-Sabah with the Peace Awardfor her outstanding work with refugees.

Model Ashley Graham received the Women’s Empowerment Award for her work as a body activist. HH Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United States of America presented Eve Branson with the Achievement Award for her foundation’s work in the Atlas Mountains.

Guests included designer Reem Acra, fashion designer Rachel Roy, model Flaviana Matata, actress & acivitist Serinda Swan, actress Kota Eberhardt, actress Tao Okamoto, and Isiah Lord Thomas II. UNWFPA’S Chairman, Dame Muna Rihani Al-Nasser, proclaimed, "Five years ago, we started a march (March in March) to end violence against women in celebration of International Women’s Day. It started at the UN which represents a symbol of freedom for everyone. We also launched our annual Awards Luncheon in 2014 to celebrate International Women’s Day and to honor people who are working effortlessly for women and girl’s issues.

It is a vehicle to generate funding for our programs. This year, the UNWFPA is moving the March in March from the streets of NYC to social media, bringing together an international community to be part of our crusade to STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN." UN Women for Peace Association’s aim is to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. The organization seeks to promote and advance the goals of UN agencies that provide opportunities for women through social, cultural, educational and empowerment programs within the framework of the global peace-building process.

UN Women for Peace Association proudly supports the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. It is the only global, multilateral, grant-making mechanism that is dedicated exclusively to addressing all forms of violence against women and girls. UN Women for Peace is also further advancing their goals of increasing access to education and empowering women by focusing efforts on Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

Proceeds for the luncheon will help support the organization’s first school, The UN Women for Peace Association School for Syrian Refugee Girls. Dame Muna Rihani Al-Nasser, stated, “We are not just giving education, we are giving these girls, their families, and their communities hope for a better future.” "As you read these words, nearly 5 million women and girls are living in slavery, victims of human trafficking. 60 million more are child brides and 140 million live in the pain of genital mutilation.

These are more than just numbers; they are our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters. WE MUST STAND TOGETHER BECAUSE WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. UNWFPA’s President, Barbara Winston, declared, “We must engage boys and men to be part of the solution when it comes to sexual harassment and violence against women.” Master of Ceremonies, Bridget Moynahan, said, “It’s an honor to be participating in the UN Women For Peace Association Luncheon. Empowering women and girls through education is proven to help communities. As global citizens we should encourage this at home and abroad.”

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