United Nations Association of New York honors three global leaders for empowering women, promoting peace and progress
October 1, 2014 — The United Nations Association of New York (UNA-NY) is pleased to announce the honorees for its annual Humanitarian of the Year Award ceremony celebrating the 69th Anniversary of the United Nations.
Receiving the Humanitarian of the Year Award are Stefan Persson, Chairman of H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. In addition, the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Lord Raj Loomba, CBE. Diplomats, business leaders and local dignitaries will gather on October 29th to celebrate this year’s award theme of “Empowering Women: Promoting Peace and Progress.”
“Each year the board and selection committee of UNA-NY considers individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment to social entrepreneurship, gender equality and the empowerment of women throughout the world. Honorees have accomplished important strides in achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” said Abid Qureshi, president of the United Nations Association of New York (UNA-NY).
Championing gender equality has been H&M’s mission since its founding in Sweden in 1947. H&M today employs more than 116,000 people, of whom 77 percent are women. H&M also helps to create more than a million jobs for women in the textile industry in Asia, where its sustainability work is dedicated to long-term development. In addition, the non-profit H&M Conscious Foundation, with support from the Persson family, works with the humanitarian organization CARE in some of the world’s poorest communities, while also supporting the work of UNICEF and WaterAid.
“We are very grateful and honored that the United Nations Association of New York has chosen to recognize the work of H&M in empowering women. By investing in women’s economic empowerment we can help transform the lives of individuals and families, we can fight poverty and bring positive development for entire communities. This work will not only help women here and now, but aims for lasting and positive change,” says Stefan Persson.
Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, representing UN Women, will be honored as a strong champion of women and girls, providing them with a powerful voice at global, regional and local levels. With the creation of UN Women in 2010, UN Member States took a historic step in accelerating the goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women strives for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls, for their empowerment, and for the achievement of equality between women and men, as partners for change and as beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Twenty years after the adoption of the landmark Beijing Platform for Action that continues to define the gender equality agenda, UN Women has undertaken a major public campaign to accelerate implementation of this framework to benefit women and girls.
“As we look around the world, we see conflict and destruction, at the same time as progress and change. Women and girls bear the brunt of war, but they are also champions for peace. Empowered women are the best drivers of economic growth, the best hope for reconciliation, and the best buffer against radicalization and the repetition of cycles of violence,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Lord Raj Loomba, CBE, founder of the Loomba Foundation, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his pioneering work of raising awareness for the plight of poor widows and educating their children. There are an estimated 245 million widows around the world and 500 million children.
Lord Loomba was behind the global initiative to name June 23rd “International Widows Day,” the date on which his own mother became a widow at 37. The UN adopted the IWD Resolution on December 22, 2010 at the 65th UN General Assembly. At the heart of the work of the Loomba Foundation is empowering widows and educating their children and the Foundation does this by making widows self-sufficient through skill building, training, provision of business start-up capital, and other programs for economic empowerment. This also has had an important impact on widows’ psychological well-being, allowing them to become self-confident and to develop self-worth. The Loomba Foundation also seeks to change attitudes towards widows and expand human rights through legal reforms. It has conducted programs in many countries including India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa and Guatemala.
The United Nations Association of New York is the host UN chapter of UNA-USA dedicated to supporting the principles and vital work of the United Nations, strengthening the UN system and promoting constructive U.S. leadership.
The reception was held on October 29, 2014 at J.W. Marriott Essex House in New York at 6:30 PM, followed by dinner at 7:30 PM.
For more information, please visit www.unanyc.org or contact Ann Nicol, Executive Director, United Nations Association of New York, firstname.lastname@example.org / 212-907-1353