Refugees International’s 45th Anniversary Dinner

Refugees International’s Anniversary Dinner on April 30, 2024, brought together passionate defenders of refugees and celebrated the tireless efforts of refugee leaders and civil society activists who dedicate themselves to humanitarian causes. The event raised funds to support our shared work to advance the rights and safety of people seeking refuge.

This year’s dinner celebrated the impact Refugees International and its leaders have had since our founding in 1979 and our vision for rights and refuge for all.

About the Awardees

2024 McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award

The McCall-Pierpaoli Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to advance the rights and safety of displaced people. The award itself is named for David and Penny McCall and Yvette Pierpaoli, all three of whom died during Refugees International research travel in Albania in 1999. David and Penny McCall were philanthropists who traveled the world to see firsthand Refugees International’s work and the challenges facing refugees. Yvette was a  staff member and a great humanitarian advocate.

This year, we awarded Refugees International’s prestigious McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award, our highest honor, to our inaugural Refugee Fellows cohort: Ana María Diez, Alaa El-Gaile, Qiyamud Din Ikram, Ali Johar, Wafa Ali Mustafa, and Farhad Shamo Roto. 

Each of them have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in global advocacy rooted in their lived experience of forced displacement. For years, they have led, organized, and pioneered solutions to issues facing their communities. Their expertise and perspective have deepened and expanded our work significantly.

About the Refugee Fellows Program: This program aims to empower refugee leaders in global advocacy through training, networking, and professional development opportunities. Fellows collaborate closely with Refugees International staff members to co-design and execute an initiative to influence refugee policy and will help shape the institution’s global advocacy priorities and deepen organizational expertise.

2024 Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award

The Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award honors and recognizes those in local civil society who are so often the unsung heroes of displacement crises and who work tirelessly to improve community-based services for refugees. Richard C. Holbrooke was a great American statesman, a tremendous diplomat, and a true humanitarian who fought for justice through diplomacy. This is the spirit that he brought to Refugees International as Chairman of the Board from 1996-1999 and as a board member for more than a decade.

This year, we awarded Refugees International’s prestigious Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award to Humane Borders.

Humane Borders is a Tucson-based non-profit that was founded in 2000 with a mission of saving lives and creating a just and humane border. With the tireless support of dedicated volunteers, Humane Borders operates several dozen permitted water stations in the Arizona borderlands to prevent deaths in the desert from dehydration and exposure. The organization has support from Pima County, the City of Tucson, and various federal agencies.

In 2023, Humane Borders mobilized volunteers to address an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with thousands of asylum seekers crossing the border near the Lukeville and Sasabe points of entry. Refugees International will be joined by two volunteers, Dora Rodriguez and Gene O’Meara, who were instrumental in providing humanitarian aid to thousands of refugees from all over the world, providing water, snacks, hats, shade, basic first aid, and emotional support for families after their long journey to America.

Host Committee

Cecily Abram
Darcy Bacon
Roberta Cohen
Elizabeth Galvin
Anne-Marie Grey
Shamim and Ambassador Said Jawad
Kati Marton
Rosalia and Richard Miller
Eileen Shields-West
Liz Stern
Jeff Tindell
Mariella Trager
Natacha and Anthony Weiss
Elizabeth and Stephen Whisnant
Maureen White

Featured Image: Photo from Refugees International’s archives from Chechnya in 1995.