UN Speakers Inspire Young Professionals at Annual Benefit

March 7, 2014| By Faye Nwafor, UNA-SNY YP

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan played host in February to a gala night of inspirational talks entitled Advancing International Unity: An Evening Honoring Inspiration, Advocacy and Change. The event, organized by the benefit committee of the United Nations Association of Southern New York Young Professionals, included an opening talk by Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

amb_dicarloAmbassador Rosemary DiCarlo addressing the hall.

The ambassador roused the audience of 200 with a poignant overview of her years of service, her notable tenure in Moscow, and her longstanding role in U.S. diplomatic policy. Ambassador DiCarlo gave the young professionals in attendance a thorough appreciation of the changing global political and economic landscape and provided insight into the true meaning of a career dedicated to service. She recounted overseas posts from decades past in which American Foreign Service workers were so understaffed that they rolled up their sleeves to do everything from tend to laundry and make building repairs to juggling their official administrative duties. Stressing that “U.S. leadership is essential for a successful United Nations,” Ambassador DiCarlo shared the sense of responsibility inherent in being a representative of a country that is often sought after to address many of the world’s challenges.

faye-550Caryl Stern, President of US Fund for UNICEF, and Faye Nwafor

President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Caryl M. Stern, was one of the evening’s honorees and brought her trademark humor and enthusiasm to her address. The author of the book I Believe in Zero: Learning from the World’s Children, focused the room’s attention on the ability that each individual has to create change. Stern reminded us of the plight of children around the world, including in Syria, and noted our collective ability to prevent the suffering of even a single child. “18,000 children died today from diseases we can prevent,” Stern reminded the audience. “It’s just not ok.”

malaria_no_more_550Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No MoreEli Pariser and Peter Koechley, the founders of the viral good news website Upworthy, were also honored, as was the CEO of Malaria No More, Martin Edlund, and Ami Dar, the founder of nonprofit opportunities website, Idealist.org. Dar regaled the audience with details for an upcoming initiative to link people across the globe for social good. He also made an impassioned plea encouraging people around the world to connect with their neighbors as a way to find partners to do good. He then shared the story of how he and another civic-minded entrepreneur, the founder of Meetup.com, found out that they lived in the same building only after attending a networking event. 

The landmark Hell’s Kitchen bakery, Cupcake Cafe, provided an assortment of floral decorated buttercream cupcakes which dotted the entryway of the evening affair. Leslie Goldman, V.P. for Program and Community Engagement at U.S. Fund for UNICEF, remarked how beautiful the arrangement was while fielding questions from young professionals including Selena S. Martin, Senior Manager at American Express, on partnerships and organizational engagements. The evening brought cause- minded attendees up close and personal with leaders at the forefront of international social change.

upworthy_550Peter Koechley, Co-Founder of Upworthy

Funds were raised through the support of organizations including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Indulge New York, Mizu Sochu, Latham & Watkins, White & Case LLP, Kim Laudati Skincare, The Kati Roll Company, Lacoste, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP, Manhattan Plaza Health Club, and others who contributed to a truly inspirational night celebrating leadership and social responsibility.

Faye Nwafor is the Benefit Committee Member of UNA-SNY YP and Food Impact Writer.

Speaker Photos by DeRonn Kidd Photography.