UN Foundation Honors Visionaries Advancing the Work of the UN to Build Brighter Future

November 3, 2015

New York (November 3, 2015) – 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 2015 Global Leadership Awards at the annual Global Leadership Dinner in New York City Tuesday night. 

“Next year, we begin our campaign to realize the 2030 Agenda and end poverty on the planet,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We will seize the opportunity to be the last generation to stop the worst effects of climate change. And we will press to secure human rights and human dignity for all. I am honored to accept this Award as encouragement to fight even harder to make the ideals of the United Nations a reality for the peoples of the world.”

Also in attendance was Kathy Calvin, UN Foundation President and CEO, who joined UNA-USA Executive Director Christopher Whatley and more than 400 diplomats, policymakers, business leaders, and UN supporters in celebrating the contributions of the honorees as well as the vital work of the United Nations. 

“It’s clear that the UN remains the indispensable forum for global cooperation and progress,” said Calvin. “By joining with the UN, each of us can help build a stronger, healthier, more prosperous planet. “

See pictures from the event here. The honorees recognized during the dinner were:  

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his enduring commitment to empowering women and girls; galvanizing global action on climate change; giving a voice to the world’s most vulnerable, including a pioneering stance on LGBT rights; and the completion of a framework for global collaboration to eradicate extreme poverty.  

Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust for its collective role in battling the Ebola crisis, helping to equip, train, and deploy African health workers to fight the Ebola epidemic, and saving countless lives across the continent.

U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (OH-1), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for his work with the UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign to introduce the Girls Count Act of 2015, designed to ensure that girls everywhere are given birth certificates.

The Free & Equal Campaign for its unprecedented global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, engaging millions to promote the fair treatment of LGBT people and generate support for measures to protect their rights.

U.S. Representative Nita Lowey (NY-17) for her sustained commitment, as the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Appropriations, for full U.S. funding of the UN, including for United Nations Peacekeeping. 

Dr. Ahmed Shaheed for his outstanding leadership as Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, shining a light on soaring numbers of executions, the jailing of journalists and activists, and worsening discrimination against women and minorities.

Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani LLC, for his humanitarian commitment to refugees around the world and devotion to advancing the UN’s work to respond to the urgent needs of families escaping violence, as well as long-term recovery and economic stabilization efforts. 

The dinner benefits UNA-USA’s public outreach efforts including programs to provide classroom-based Model United Nations, an interactive learning experience that puts kids in the shoes of a diplomat, to under-resourced middle and high school students across the country. 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.

The event comes as the UN Foundation’s Board of Directors holds its semi-annual meeting in New York City. 

Remarks from tonight’s honorees: 

“I have something to confess. When I was informed of this award for me, I was a bit reluctant to receive it because… it seemed to be a farewell recognition. But I’m telling you that I still have one year and two months to go, and until my final day there will be no ‘lame-duck.’”—Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

“The effort to end Ebola came from every corner of the world, and as Africans we thank you…I receive this award on behalf of the courageous health care workers who put their lives on the line.” —Strive Masiyiwa, Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust

“I was fortunate and honored to be able to spearhead [the Girls Count Act] in a bipartisan way with both Democrats and Republicans working together. We were able to get this legislation passed in the House and Senate and to the President’s desk, and President Obama signed it into law. It does give us the opportunity now to make it more possible around the world to make sure that these children have birth certificates, so an awful lot of children will now have a chance for a better life.”—Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-1)

“The idea behind [the Free and Equal Campaign] is this: ending violence and abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will take more than new laws, and policy announcements; it’s going to take a fundamental change in social attitudes and in people’s hearts and minds. To do that you have to challenge negative stereotypes and show people that LGBT people are just that: people.” —Zeid  Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, accepting the Award for the Free & Equal Campaign

“During my time in the House of Representatives I have supported robust U.S. engagement at the UN. The UN is instrumental in advancing our national security interests around the world and fighting terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and poverty. I stand ready to work with the UN to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals.” —Rep. Nita Lowey (NY-17)

“This Award serves as a reminder to all in Iran that the United Nations, and all those who work to advance the principles and purposes of the United Nations, remain firmly committed to working with Iran to advance the fundamental rights of the people of Iran. And together we shall overcome.”—Dr. Ahmed Shaheed

“It’s our turn to act to help refugees. I recognize the magnitude of this challenge is great. But I also believe there is even greater compassion, decency, and ingenuity in this world. I believe that if we come together, and act together, we can solve this crisis together.”—Hamdi Ulukaya