UN Women for Peace Association’s (UNWFPA) Annual Awards Luncheon, in celebration of International Women’s Day, was held on Friday, March 1st at the United Nations Headquarters.
This year, UNWFPA honored five distinguished individuals: actor, writer, and activist Ben Stiller (UNWFPA Advocacy Award), fashion designer Naeem Khan (Women’s Empowerment Award), philanthropists Albert and Deidre Pujols (Humanitarian Award), and Think Equal Founder and CEO Leslee Udwin (Activism in Arts and Education Award). The Master of Ceremonies was Mozhan Marno.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff also presented the “Changemakers and Educators Award” to Marc Brackett, Ph.D and Robin Stern, Ph.D. from the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University for their work in integrating social and emotional well-being into schools, families and communities. Winston Wolkoff, Brackett and Stern also announced that they would be launching the Social Emotional Learning program with UNWFPA and Facebook Education.
The Luncheon Chairs were Ray Kelly (CEO of Guardian Group and former NYC Police Commissioner) and Alice M. Tisch (The Alice M. and Thomas J. Tisch Foundation). For a second year in a row, Young Host Committee Chair was Andrea J. Catsimatidis.
UNWFPA’s President, Barbara Winston thanked all involved. She declared, “We dream of a world in which all are prosperous, who can take good care of their children and in which there is no war.” She continued: “We need to promote the intersection of humanity with technology with the decisions only people you can provide. The United Nations Women for Peace Association has a mission to educate, to advance and champion giving a voice and platform to the empowerment of women and girls.”
“If we are to achieve lasting peace,” stated Leslee Udwin, “we are simply going to have begin with the children.” She elaborated, “Not one of us is is born discriminating against another based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, or any other factor. We are taught to discriminate, as we are instructed in the ways of the world. [Think Equal] teaches empathy, emotional intelligence, gender equality, critical thinking, inclusion, peaceful conflict resolution. It teaches all these values, competences and skills from the ages of three until six.”
“I’m grateful to the UN Women for Peace Association, or, as I look to call it, UN-WOOF-PAH, for this incredible honor,” joked Ben Stiller. “I stand before you as the son of a mother, and the father of a daughter…I, like all men, owe my existence to women. These two women have had an incredible experience on me. One nurtured me, fed me, and taught me simple tasks like tying my shoes. How my teenage daughter found the time to do these things while going to high school is a testament to her strength and patience. In reality, my mother was the most important voice in my life.”
Naeem Khan said, “Fashion has a lot to do with change in the world. There are a lot of problems in the fashion world. From discrimination to hiring children to work in Bangladesh. How can a designer make change? I think with me, going to Guatemala, Honduras, or India. I might not be the biggest business, but I think I have the platform that I can teach these people, and give them what I have learned through my life in America, and see how I can uplift their lives.”
Deidre Pujols, “When I learned that we were going to be receiving this award, there was just no way that I was just going to have Albert [Pujols] and I here because there are people people working around the world tirelessly against injustices, and that is Table number Four for us. They are part of Strikeout Slavery. These are some of the most incredible people. I celebrate this award and share it with them.”
Robin Stern said, “Together, we will work together to change the woes of women and girls forever. Let today mark the beginning of our journey.” Dr. Marc Brackett asked, “Take a moment to think – how are you all feeling today?” He then elaborated on the importance of recognizing emotions and regulating them.
“Were we all inspired today?” concluded Barbara Winston. “Let’s all get together and do some work together!”
UNWFPA’s full Board of Directors is Dame Muna Rihani Al-Nasser (Founder and Chair), Barbara Winston (President), Rema DuPont (Vice President), Michal Grayevsky (Treasurer), Valbona Neritani, and StephanieWinston Wolkoff.
At the Luncheon, the Ambassadors for Peace included a variety of notable individuals, Sheikha Rima Al-Saba, H.R.H. Princess Camilla of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duchess of Castro, First Lady of Panama Lorena Castillo Garcia De Varela, Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, Bushra Khayat Jomaa and Eugenio Lopez Alonso.
The UNWFPA Committee of Honor is Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Kate Beckinsale, Ambassador Daniele Bodini, Geoffrey Bradfield, H.E. Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, Deborra-Lee Furness, Ashley Graham, Heather Graham, Kat Graham, Karolína Kurková, Debra Messing, Ambassador Adrian Neritani, Laurice Rahmé, Kelly Rutherford, and Sir Patrick Stewart OBE.
UN Women for Peace Association, founded in 2008 under the patronage of H.E. Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, raises awareness of the terrible crimes against women and girls. UNWFPA promotes and advances the goals of UN agencies who provide opportunities for women through social, cultural, educational, and empowerment programs under the banner of a global peace building process. Proceeds go directly to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, which aims to prevent violence against women and girls, provides services and programs to those affected by violence, and strengthens the implementation of laws and policies on such violence.