Refugees International’s annual Anniversary Dinner is an awards ceremony and celebration honoring individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment to humanitarian action. More than 500 people attend this event each year.
This year’s McCall-Pierpaoli Award, RI’s highest humanitarian award, will be presented to the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group responsible for saving more than 78,000 lives during the Syrian civil war. The award will be presented by Her Majesty Queen Noor. We will also present Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) with our Congressional Leadership Award, and Hassan Shire, Executive Director of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, with the Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award.
Her Excellency Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku will serve as Honorary Chair of the event. Refugees International board member Academy Award nominated actor Matt Dillon will be the Master of Ceremonies. Maria and Fabio Trabocchi will serve as the evening’s Benefit Chairs, and Sarah Bovim, Vice President, Government Affairs, Whirlpool Corporation will chair the Global Partnership Initiative.
The 38th Anniversary Dinner begins at 7:00pm, with a general reception at 6:15pm.
We are pleased to announce that we will have two very special items available for auction: a $25,000 appliance shopping spree from Jenn-Air, with the first dinner using the new appliances cooked by Fiola Mare Executive Chef Brinn Sinnott, and a private dinner for thirty people at Fiola Mare. The auction will only be open to attendees of the 38th Anniversary Dinner.
Accepting the McCall-Pierpaoli Award on behalf of the White Helmets are Mounir Mustafa, Manal Abazeed, and Jehad Mahameed.
Mounir Mustafa is the deputy head of the Syria Civil Defense. He is originally from Tal Karameh, a town in northern Idlib close to the Turkish border. Before joining the SCD, Mustafa was a firefighter. He served for close to 10 years in the state-operated firefighting force in Aleppo, and after the Revolution, he and his colleagues started an independent firefighting brigade. He joined the Syria Civil Defense at its founding in 2013. He studied electrical engineering in Aleppo. He is married with three children.
Manal Abazeed is a Syria Civil Defense volunteer in Daraa. She joined the White Helmets in April 2015 and specializes in public safety education and awareness. Her trainings cover explosive weapons, trauma counselling and childbirth. In addition to her work with the White Helmets, Manal is also head of the Free Union of Women and works with young people. Before 2011, Manal worked as an accountant, but when the revolution broke out Manal joined the peaceful protests and worked as the Director of the Media Office of the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution in Daraa.
Jehad Mahameed is the liaison officer of the Syria Civil Defense. He is from Daraa and was one of the original founders of the local civil defense committee in Daraa in 2011. When the Syria Civil Defense was officially formed in 2013, his committee joined the national organization. He also helped to start the Quneitra branch of the SCD, establishing the first offices in Quneitra just last year. He studied economics in college and worked in the state-run Syrian Commercial Bank until 2011. He has two children, one boy and one girl.
Refugees International would like to thank the following sponsors of the 38th Anniversary Dinner:
Elizabeth and Michael Galvin
Nina and Dino Saglimbeni
Eileen Shields-West, Robin West, and the Concordia Foundation
Vranos Family Foundation
Jan Weil and Amos Avgar
Laurie Wingate and Mark Chandler
Lisa Barry and James Gale
Irfan Kathwari Foundation
Frederica and George Valanos
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Joy and Jonathan Alferness
Sarah and Darcy Bacon
Jeannien and Michael Berkman
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
The Honorable C. Boyden Gray
Cindy and Evan Jones
Vaithehi Muttulingam and Bala Cumaresan
Darya and Vali Nasr
Victoria and Roger Sant
Barbara and Christopher Wall and the Gannett Foundation
The Weiss Foundation
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation
Bradley Charitable Fund
Cassidy Levy Kent LLP
The Dow Chemical Company
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Diane and Michael Hawkins
Jacquie and Alex Henry
Korn Ferry International
Laura and Greg Lane
Linda Lipsett and Jules Bernstein
Jana Mason and Shu-Ping Chan
Goli and Amir Parvisian
Diana and Mallory Walker
Maureen White and Steven Rattner
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