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Speakers Inspire UNA Young Professionals at Annual Benefit.

March 10, 2014

Speakers Inspire Young Professionals at Annual Benefit

By Faye Nwafor, Benefit Committee Member UNA-SNY YP and Food Impact Writer

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan played host on Saturday, February 2, to a gala night of inspirational talks entitled Advancing International Unity: An Evening Honoring Inspiration, Advocacy and Change. The event, organized by the benefit committee of the United Nations Association of Southern New York Young Professionals, of which I am a member, included an opening talk by Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The ambassador roused the audience of 200 with a poignant overview of her years of service, her notable tenure in Moscow and her longstanding role in U.S. diplomatic policy. Ambassador DiCarlo offered the young professionals in attendance a thorough appreciation of the changing political and economic landscape globally and provided insight into the true meaning of a career dedicated to service. She recounted overseas posts from decades past in which American foreign service workers were so understaffed they rolled up their sleeves to do everything from tend to laundry and make building repairs while juggling their official administrative duties. Ambassador DiCarlo shared the sense of responsibility inherent in being a representative of a country that is often sought after to solve many of the world’s challenges when she stressed, “U.S. leadership is essential for a successful United Nations.”

President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Caryl M. Stern, was one of the evening’s honorees and brought her trademark humor and enthusiasm to her address. The author of the book I Believe in Zero: Learning from the World’s Children, focused the room’s attention on the talent each individual has to create change. Stern reminded us of the plight of children around the world, including Syria, and noted our collective ability to prevent the suffering of even a single child. “18,000 children died today from diseases we can prevent,” Stern reminded the audience. “It’s just not ok.”

Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley, the founders of the viral good news website Upworthy, were also honored, as was the CEO of Malaria No More, Martin Edlund and the founder of nonprofit opportunities website, Idealist.org, Ami Dar. Dar regaled the audience with details for an upcoming initiative to link people across the globe for social good in ways never done before. His impassioned plea encouraging people around the world to connect with their neighbors as a way to find partners to do good hit home when he shared the story of how he and another civic minded entrepreneur, the founder of Meetup.com, found out they lived in the same building only after attending a networking event.

The landmark Hell’s Kitchen bakery, Cupcake Cafe, provided an assortment of floral decorated buttercream cupcakes which dotted the entryway of the evening affair. Leslie Goldman, V.P. for Program and Community Engagement at U.S. Fund for UNICEF remarked how beautiful the arrangement was while fielding questions from young professionals including Selena S. Martin, Senior Manager at American Express, on partnerships and organizational engagements.The evening brought cause minded attendees up close and personal with leaders at the forefront of international social change. Funds raised through the support of organizations including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP,  Indulge New York, Mizu Sochu, Latham & Watkins, White & Case LLP, Kim Laudati Skincare, The Kati Roll Company, Lacoste, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP,  Manhattan Plaza Health Club and others contributed to a truly inspirational night celebrating leadership and social responsibility.audience w speaker cupcakes smallFaye and  Malaria speaker

Speaker Photos by DeRonn Kidd Photography

Photos 1- Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo addressing hall; 2- Cupcakes 3- Caryl Stern, President of US Fund for Unicef and Faye Nwafor; 4- Martin Edlund of Malaria; No More 5- Peter Koechley, CoFounder of Upworthy

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