The United Nations Foundation hosted the 2018 Global Leadership Dinner in New York yesterday to recognize leaders who have helped tackle the world’s most pressing global challenges. As the UN Foundation marks its 20th anniversary, the event recognized Founder and Chairman Ted Turner’s impact, as well as the champions the Foundation works with to support United Nations causes.
Bono, co-founder of ONE, sent a special video message to recognize the UN Foundation’s 20th anniversary. He said: “By its very design, the UN was created to do what no country could do alone. Its purpose was peace, protection of our planet, and all of us on it. The UN Foundation has become the UN’s strategic partner since that time — connecting the UN to activists like myself, individuals, businesses, philanthropists that when working together can and must drive progress on some of the biggest challenges of our time, from climate change to child marriage. Have we ever needed this more than now? I don’t think so.”
From encouraging businesses to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals to reporting on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the honorees are on the forefront of working to ensure a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world.
The evening included also remarks from UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and Zoe Saldana, actress and global ambassador for the UN Foundation Shot@Life campaign. It concluded with a special tribute to former UN Secretary-General and UN Foundation Board Member Kofi Annan, who received a posthumous award as the Champion for Global Change.
“Kofi Annan would not want us to solely look to the past,” said Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed. “He spent his life working for the future. And the best way we can honor him today is to take up that torch that he passed – and not just talk about it, but act on it.”
The honorees recognized at the event included:
- Former UN Secretary-General and UN Foundation Board Member Kofi Annan, who received a posthumous award as the Champion for Global Change for his lifetime of service to humanity
- UN peacekeepers, for 70 years of service and sacrifice to advance peace
- Aviva, for business leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals
- The Little x Little campaign from Common Ground and Google, for inspiring youth action on the Sustainable Development Goals
- Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and John Boozman (R-AR), for bipartisan leadership on global development and humanitarian issues and on global health issues, especially the fight against malaria, respectively
- Nawal Al-Maghafi, BBC Correspondent, recognized with the Leo Nevas Human Rights award for her groundbreaking reporting on Yemen
Remarks from honorees included:
On behalf of UN Peacekeepers, Fanny Aboagye said: “As peacekeepers, we offer our service – and sometimes our lives – to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Serving as a peacekeeper is a sacrifice certainly, but also a unique experience that I personally would not trade for anything else. I believe my fellow peacekeepers – more than 100,000 around the world – would agree with me.”
BBC Correspondent Nawal Al-Maghafi said: “The past few years have taught me how important our profession is, and how heavy the responsibility we shoulder: to give voice to the voiceless, to hold the powerful to account on behalf of the powerless.”
“Little by Little” spokespeople Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Risi and Sapient Razorfish Chief Creative Officer Anthony Yell, said: “Common Ground and The Common Future Project are humbled by this extraordinary honor from the United Nations Foundation, which is a testament to the ‘Little x Little’ campaign’s recognition that no one person or action is too small to change the world for the better.”
Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer of Aviva Investors, said: “The world cannot achieve the SDGs without business. And it is also true that business cannot achieve them alone. When the whole system is broken, we need everyone- policy-makers, business leaders, investors, civil society, regulators – to come together and each play their part. Aviva understands that when the world is burning, we must join forces to put out the flames.”
Senator John Boozman of Arkansas said via video message: “We’ve got all of these problems in the world that are so difficult to solve, but malaria is one that certainly – if we put our minds together – is a very doable thing.”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said via video message: “Women make up 50 percent of the world’s population. Their success has a direct impact on families, communities, and nations.”
About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation acts as a strategic partner to help the United Nations mobilize people, resources and solutions to address global challenges. We focus on issues at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and engage citizens who seek action. Founded in 1998 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner, the UN Foundation works with philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual partners. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org.