On the evening of March 15, 120 guests gathered in the Diplomat Ballroom at the ONE UN Hotel in New York City to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Women's Federation for World Peace, International and the 20th anniversary of WFWP's general consultative status with the United Nations.
The evening began with a brief welcome by emcee Mrs. Alexa Ward, International Vice President and Director of the UN Office in New York, followed by an introductory video that portrayed WFWPI's moving history over the past quarter of a century. WFWP's International President, Prof. Yeon Ah Moon, welcomed the guests with introductory remarks, passing on greetings from Co-Founder of WFWPI, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, emphasizing the foundation of motherly love and living for the sake of others to create harmony and sustainable peace. International Vice President and Director of the UN Office, Mrs. Carolyn Handschin, spoke on the history of WFWPI's status with the UN and highlighted key achievements from the work in New York, Geneva and Vienna. She thanked the former Director of the UN Office, Mrs. Motoko Sugiyama, and those who worked closely with her during the founding period.
The awards ceremony began by presenting the Global Women's Peace Award to the Hon. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and Under-Secretary-General of the UN. As the Executive Director was not able to attend the event, the award was received by Ms. Lopa Banerjee, Director of the Civil Society Section of UN Women.
The second recipient of the Global Women's Peace Award was Dr. Rima Salah, Chair of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium and Former Assistant Secretary General of the UN. Dr. Salah shared her personal experience as a refugee during her childhood and her later work in Palestinian camps. She emphasized the crucial role of education in the struggle of equality for women, urging everyone to join forces and "rally around the blue flag" of the UN.
The third Global Women's Peace Award was presented to the WFWP National Chapter of Japan. It was received by Mrs. Moriko Hori, President of WFWP, Japan and International Vice President, together with Mrs. Nishii, Secretary General, Mrs. Sugiyama, Mrs. Kuwabara, Mrs. Shika Nai, and Mrs. Teiko Kono, Secretary General of WFWP, Caribbean and Central America. Mrs. Hori spoke of the profound commitment of the members of WFWP, Japan and told the story of WFWP's beginnings in Japan. She also expressed appreciation for the consistent support of Japanese volunteers from ages 19 to 94 and their extraordinary investment around the world.
Next, Dr. Amalle Daou, Founder and President of the Active Intervention of Mothers, presented the 2017 Best Contribution to Women's Empowerment Award to Prof. Yeon Ah Moon on behalf of her organization. Dr. Daou acknowledged Prof. Moon for her selflessness and praised the work of WFWPI for its efforts to educate women and girls, support the family, and build lasting peace.
The Founder and CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, one of the recipients of the 2017 Sun Hak Peace Prize, gave a heartwarming account of her life and work in Afghanistan, observing the confidence and resilience of women even during immense conflict and expressing her belief in the vision of WFWPI for the promotion of a world of peace.
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation of North America, concluded the program with congratulatory remarks to the award recipients and expressed his sincere love and admiration for WFWPI and its important work.
A toast and delicious dinner followed. The evening closed with entertainment from Prideswell, a band that played an engaging blend of folk music, followed by a stunning classical performance by Seiko Lee, soprano, and her daughter, Yuna Lee, flutist.