UN Foundation Honors Change Agents Helping United Nations Build Better Future

November 7, 2013

New York, NY – 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 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, 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.

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.

Remarks from tonight’s honorees:

“We are honoring those who champions who, like Ted, know that the UN is essential. It is essential. And they’re working alongside the UN and the UN Foundation to address the world’s most pressing problems.” — Jane Fonda

We are going to fight for our rights and for the rights of every child all over the world. 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.” — Malala Yousafzai 

 “To date, we have raised more than $2 million for girls’ education — money that through our partners has paid for a school in Afghanistan, new classrooms in Cambodia, a roof in Haiti, safe spaces in Ethiopia, more than $15,000 in scholarships for girls around the world, and this is just the beginning.” — Tom Yellin, President of The Documentary Group and Executive Producer of 10×10 and Girl Rising

“The UN’s focus on supporting the development of Africa makes us natural partners, and we are privileged to work together on this shared vision.” — Jay Ireland, President and CEO, GE Africa 

“The world today is not enmeshed in a clash of civilizations, but we do face a battle of ideas – and the idea that civil society is an essential contributor to human progress must be defended when and wherever it is in peril.” — Ambassador Samantha Power

“It’s to the UN that the world comes when systems fall apart.”  —  Senator Timothy E. Wirth 

For more information, visit http://www.unausa.org/annualdinner

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org.


The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a membership organization dedicated to informing, inspiring, and mobilizing the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For 70 years, UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation. UNA-USA and its sister organization the Better World Campaign represent the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. Learn more about UNA-USA’s programs and initiatives at http://www.unausa.org.

About Global Classrooms

The United Nations Association of the USA’s Global Classrooms Model UN is an educational program that engages public middle school and high school students in the United States and abroad in an exploration of current world issues through interactive simulations and curricular materials. Global Classrooms is the only comprehensive program of study and instruction based on Model UN, the largest Model UN network both inside and outside the United States, and the only Model UN provider focused on underserved populations. Impacting more than 25,000 students and teachers annually, Global Classrooms is implemented as a stand-alone curriculum, co-curricular, and as an after school program. For more information, visit http://www.unausa.org/globalclassrooms.