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    Voices of Courage:
    Celebrating the Strength of Refugee Women 

    April 21, 2016

    Refugee women have a remarkable strength to rebuild their lives, their families, and their communities. They are the best authors of their own solutions.


    Voices of Courage Award

    Mina Jaf thumbnail

    Mina Jaf spent her first 20 years as a refugee. Born during a chemical gas attack in 1988, in Iraqi Kurdistan, her family fled over mountains to Iran. She grew up keenly aware of the importance of bureaucratic details for the displaced: which line to stand in, what forms to fill out. Now an emerging leader and refugee advocate in Brussels, Mina Jaf enlists others to join her as a fierce ally for refugee women as they begin their new lives.

    Cho Lay Mar thumbnail

    Cho Lay Mar champions peace and inter-ethnic understanding in Rakhine State, Myanmar, where she was born and raised. She has dedicated herself to improving the lives of vulnerable populations, including Muslim girls and women, even in the face of great resistance in her role as Program Officer at Community and Family Services International. Her ability to build positive relationships with her government and her commitment to peace and diplomacy distinguish Cho Lay Mar as a true voice of courage.

    Lifetime Achievement Award

    Antonio Guterres thumbnail

    High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has devoted his energy, diplomacy, and intellectual vigor to elevate refugee issues for the world’s 60 million displaced persons. A strong and impassioned advocate for the particular issues facing displaced women and children, he lived up to his call to “fight for a world where women and girls, are respected in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities, [where they can] walk freely, without fear.”

    Corporate Leadership Award

    Hamdi Chobani thumbnail

    Hamdi Ulukaya

    Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Chobani
    Founder, The Tent Foundation
    Entrepreneur and philanthropist

    Hamdi Ulukaya seeks to improve the lives and livelihoods of the 60 million people who have been forcibly displaced around the globe through the dedicated efforts of the Tent Foundation, which he founded in 2015. Tent advances its mission by funding direct assistance, investing in innovation, and promoting policies and partnerships to help the displaced realize their full potential.

    Anka Wittenberg thumbnail

    SAP SE

    Award accepted by Anka Wittenberg Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, SAP SE

    SAP, one of the world’s largest software manufacturers, shows an exemplary commitment to refugee rights. Its three-pillar approach to pressing refugee issues generates real solutions in a complex crisis. SAP provides humanitarian aid through corporate and employee giving, taps corporate innovation that brings to bear big data on expansive challenges, and fosters workforce integration to support long-term solutions for refugees and their families. SAP's leadership and robust corporate social responsibility program distinguish the company as a voice of courage.

    Performers: Silk Road Ensemble

    Silk Road Ensemble Cellist Yo-Yo Ma established Silk Road in 1998 to examine the role of the arts in fostering cross-cultural understanding. Under his artistic direction, the artists of the Silk Road Ensemble draw on a rich tapestry of traditions that make up our shared cultural heritage, creating a new musical language — a uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects our many-layered contemporary identities. The Ensemble’s new album, Sing Me Home, will be released on April 22.



    Global Sponsors

    Tent Foundation

    Martha Gallo


    Principal Sponsors

    The Frances Lear Foundation
    JPMorgan Chase & Co.
    Microsoft Corporation


    Major Sponsors

    Annabelle Bexiga
    Mimi Frankel
    Goldman Sachs
    SAP SE
    TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank



    Bloomberg Philanthropies
    Beth Daniels
    Dina Dublon
    Barbara Hack
    E. Carol Hayles
    ICAP Information Services, Inc.
    Jurate Kazickas
    Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP
    Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
    Tullett Prebon Information
    PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
    Susan F. Rice
    Lily Safra
    Thomson Reuters
    Sandra Tully
    Gillian Van Schaick
    Marissa Wesely and Fred Hamerman



    Anne Gundersen Foundation Trust and David Bohonnon, Trustee
    Broadridge Financial Solutions
    Joy Bunson
    Josephine M. Eastman
    Chris McConnell
    David L. Phillips and Sarah Costa
    Diane Sinti



    Sherrell Andrews
    Barry L. & Jan R. Zubrow Foundation
    Elizabeth B. Dater
    HIAS, Sandy Spinner and Ed Hand, Rana Mohmand and Sana Mohmand
    Ellen M. Kealy
    Regina Peruggi
    Faye Richardson
    Nancy and Miles Rubin
    Sheri Sandler
    Margaret Smith
    Christine Wasserstein



    George Biddle
    Susan Blaustein
    Lori Buchbinder
    John Buretta
    Carol and Jonathan Chace
    Fidelity Charitable
    Fiona Christeller
    Kathy Crost
    Julie Daum
    Mr. and Mrs. Raul Esquivel
    Virginia Decker Keith
    Maria Hancock
    Roberta Karp
    Susan Kessler
    Yong Kwok
    Ruth Lazarus and Michael Feldberg
    Sandra Lipsman
    Judith Mayotte
    Virginia A. Millhiser
    Rosemary E. Newman
    Sarah O'Hagan
    Catherine Pierce
    James Price
    Catherine Shimony
    Wendy Zimmermann and Steve Cutler



    Susan Abramowitz
    Sheppie Abramowitz
    Karen AbuZayd
    All Stars Project, Inc. and Gabrielle L. Kurlander, President and CEO
    Marcia Allina
    Mulan Ashwin
    Diane Baer
    Linda Barnett
    Lori Bassman
    Dale Bernstein
    Jewelle W. Bickford
    Virginia Botelho
    Diana D. Bui
    Dawn Calabia
    Karen Chaplin
    Grace Cheung
    Mary Jessie Cosnard des Closets
    Nuno Crisostomo
    Lisa Dallmer
    Joan K. Davidson
    Jennie L. and Richard K. DeScherer
    Ellen Dickson
    Lisa DiMona
    Linda D'Onofrio
    Terence Dougherty
    Jo Ellen Finkel
    Helen Forster
    Joan Gambro
    Susan Geisenheimer
    Alan Guarino
    Clare Hart
    Paula K. Hawkins
    Lucile Herbert
    Morrene Hubbard Jacobs
    Carol Hymowitz
    Susan Jonas
    Anita Jorgensen
    Frances Kraljic Curran
    Marianne Lake
    Geraldine Laybourne
    Phyllis Lee Levin
    Joan Lipton
    Judy McElnea
    Nancy R. Newhouse
    Marilyn Nissenson
    Karen Olin Heimann
    Jane Olson
    Sheila Platt
    Anna-Mary Portz
    Hazel Reitz
    Anne Rogin
    Debbie Rosenberg
    Helene Rosenthal
    Angelica Rudenstine
    Dora Schriro
    Heidi Schulman
    Janny Scott and Joe Lelyveld
    Donald Steinberg
    Carol Stillman
    Shauna Tarshis Denkensohn
    Vivien C. Tartter
    Deborah Tolman
    Kate S. Tomlinson
    Linda Walker
    Frank and Denie Weil
    Lois Weinroth
    Carrie Welch
    Mary White
    Joanne Zaiac


    Header photograph © Aneesa Photography