UN Foundation Honors Visionaries Helping the United Nations Build a Better Future

Valerie Amos, Paul Polman, Justice Michael Kirby, Merck & Co., Senator Chris Murphy (D-Ct), Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Il), And Rana Abdelhamid Recognized For Leadership On Global Issues

New York, NY

October 23, 2014


Megan Rabbitt

NEW YORK — 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 2014 Global Leadership Awards at the annual Global Leadership Dinner in New York City Wednesday night.

“Today we see many dark clouds. But I am convinced that we can stand up for UN principles and achieve the transformations we seek, the future we want. Let us work together to press all those in power to live up to their political and moral responsibilities. And let us be inspired by the honorees and other leaders here tonight to build a better world for all,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in welcoming attendees.

Also  in attendance was Ted Turner, chairman and founder of the United Nations Foundation, who joined Kathy Calvin, UN Foundation president and CEO; UNA-USA executive director Christopher Whatley, and nearly 500 diplomats, policymakers, business leaders and UN supporters in celebrating the contributions of the honorees as well as the vital work of the United Nations.

“Tonight we honor leaders who believe that it can be done—and who are showing us how to do it. We have a unique opportunity to improve millions of lives, while safeguarding the planet for generations to come. The UN Foundation is dedicated to mobilizing a movement of supporters to help the UN go further and faster in building this better world,” said Calvin.

The honorees recognized during the dinner were:

  • Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, honored for her diplomatic command of cross-sector global relief efforts in response to humanitarian crises
  • Justice Michael Kirby,UN Commissioner, Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, who received the Leo Nevas Human Rights Award for his consistent call for action against rights abuses
  • Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, who received the UN Foundation’s highest honor, the Champion for Global Change Award, for his lifelong personal commitment to sustainable development and leadership in galvanizing the global community around the Post-2015 Development Agenda
  • Merck & Co., in recognition of its industry leadership and corporate commitment to global health and development
  • Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)andCongressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)for their commitment to a strong American relationship with the United Nations
  • Rana Abdelhamid, honored with the Leo Nevas Youth Advocate for Human Rights Award for her efforts to raise awareness of the UN and human rights mechanisms, and her empowerment of young Muslim women across the United States

The dinner, supported by Merck & Co. and the Angelica Fuentes 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 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:

“All people are born with dignity and rights.  And our world will not rest—nor its security be safeguarded—until the United Nations makes this promise, reality—including in North Korea.”
Justice Michael Kirby, UN Commissioner, Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea 

More than ever, we need to work together in order to deliver a better world for all. It is only through aligning our efforts behind this common goal that a higher purpose—transformative change—can really happen.”
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever

“Corporate responsibility always has been and continues to be at the center of our mission and our company.  It serves as our North Star, guiding and inspiring Merck people no matter where they are around the world or what they do.”
Kenneth Frazier, Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co.

“Although I see the very worst of what we as human beings can do to each other, I also see the very best. People managing in the most difficult circumstances. I see solidarity. I see communities of people being innovative and entrepreneurial in finding ways to survive. I see people with almost nothing being prepared to share what little they have with someone else. Holding their families and their communities together. Humanitarian response is at the heart of the UN’s mission around the world.”
Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

“I see massive challenges, but I see the UN taking those challenges head-on despite many areas of hopelessness … The work of the UN is even more important today.”
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

“[Rep.] Adam [Kinzinger] and I may come out on different places on specific policy issues, but we take the challenge and the charge with this great honor tonight seriously, as we seek to make sure members of Congress understand their responsibility to be partners with all of you to make this world a more peaceful and better place.”
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)

See pictures from the event here


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.