|Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backstage with awardees and staff at the Vital Voices program at the Kennedy Center.|
|VITAL VOICES AT THE KENNEDY CENTER
By Carol Joynt
The stage of Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater glowed with famous faces and international pride last Thursday night at the annual leadership awards gala of the Vital Voices Global Partnership. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a special honoree, making one of her first public appearances in Washington since starting her new job. Clinton was instrumental in the creation of Vital Voices when she was First Lady.
The awards presenters included Ben Affleck, Sally Field, Candice Bergen, Maria Bello, Nicholas Kristof, Diane von Furstenberg and Maggie Grace. The women who were honored included Somaly Mam of Cambodia, who received the "Human Rights Award" for her work with victims of human trafficking and creation of the organization AFESIP, "Acting for Women in Distressing Circumstances."
|The participants in the Vital Voices proram, including among them Ben Affleck, Candice Bergen, and Sen Kay Bailey Hutchinson.|
|Temituokpe Esisi of Nigeria, received the "10,000 Women Unlocking Economic Potential Award" for entrepreneurial skills cultivated in her home city of Lagos. Esisi established her own fashion design company and completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Scholarship program.
Marceline Kongolo-Bicé of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was given the "Fern Holland Award" for the creation of "SOS Femmes en Dangers," which works to heal and rehabilitate rape victims, educate women on their rights, provide defense tactics and give a voice to silenced victims.
|A round of applause for Melanne Verveer, co-founder and chair emeritus of Vital Voices.|
|Chouchou Namegabe Nabintu of the Democratic Republic of Congo, also received the "Fern Holland Award." Nabintu uses her broadcast journalism skills as a weapon against government corruption and injustices against women.
Sadiqa Basiri Saleem of Afghanistan, received the "Rising Voices Award" for the founding of the Oruj Learning Center which provides women an education they had been denied.
Vital Voices proudly boasts about their work mentoring women thoughout the world. “Our international staff and team of over 1,000 partners and pro-bono experts and leaders, including senior government, corporate and NGO executives, have trained and mentored more than 7,000 emerging women leaders from 127 countries in Asia, Africa, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East since 1997.”
|"Global Trailblazer" awarded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is congratulated by the women of Vital Voices Global Partnership including hugger Danielle St-Lot of Haiti, 3rd from left, as Marina Pisklakova of Russia, left, and Farida Azizi of Afghanistan.|
|Guests in the audience and at the dinner after included Smith and Elizabeth Bagley, Adam and Tracy Bernstein, Wolf and Lynn Blitzer, Arnaud and Alexandra de Borchgrave, Carolyn Brody, Fred and Marlene Malek, Ann Walker Marchant, Juleanna Glover, Robert and Capricia Marshall, Debbie Dingell, Lynn de Rothschild, Farida Aziz, Amb. Abdulwahab Al-Hajjri and Natalya Anfilofyeve, Bitsy Folger and Sidney Werkman, Vernon and Ann Jordan, Robert and Mary Lou McGee, Mack and Donna McLarty, Diana Negroponte, Maureen Orth, Andrea Mitchell, Inez McCormack, Anita McBride, Amb. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika of Zambia, Rep. Doris Matsui, Mort Halperin, Diane Orentlicher, Thomas and Alice Pickering, Harris Wofford, Amb. Pierre Vimont of France, Melanne and Phil Verveer, Roger and Vicki Sant, Donald and Susan Rappaport, Joan and Ev Shorey, George and Liz Stevens, Joan Tobin, Nina Totenberg, David Reimes, Anne Veneman, Nancy Rubin, Lucky Roosevelt, Marina Pisklakova, Dina Powell, Molly Raiser, Eden and Gerald Rafshoon, Charlie Rose, Amb. Sameh Shoukry of Egypt, Marshall Rose, Angus and Sissy Yates, John and Mary Yerrick.|
|Candice Bergen presents the Rising Voices Award to Sadiqa Basiri Saleem of Afghanistan.||Diane von Furstenberg presents award.|
|Actresses Maria Bello and Sally Field.||Candice Bergen, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and Melanne Verveer.|
|Actress Maggie Grace, left, and Nicholas Kristof present the Human Rights Award to Somaly Mam of Cambodia.||Vital Voices co-founders Alyse Nelson and Melanne Verveer.|
|Vital Voices Co-Chairs Sonnie Dockser and Michelle Olson.||Ntaiya, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hafsat Abiola of Nigeria, Maria, and Pacheco of Guatemala.|
|Ben Affleck backstage at the Vital Voices gala.||Chhun Chenda Sophea of Cambodia (Board Member of Somaly Mam Foundation), Ben Affleck, and "Human Rights Award" winner Somaly Mam of
|Photographs by Vital Voices. Carol Joynt is the host of The Q&A Cafe, a talk show at Nathans Restaurant in Washington, D.C.|