New Delhi, Nov 07: Indian-origin philanthropist Lord Raj Loomba was today conferred with the United Nations Association of New York's (UNA-NY) Lifetime Achievement Award
Loomba , who is also the founder and chairman trustee of the UN-accredited global NGO, The Loomba Foundation, has been conferred with the prestigious UN Day 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts promoting the welfare and economic empowerment of disadvantaged widows and educating their children.
The celebratory awards dinner was organized last week by The UNA-NY on October 29 to commemorate the 69th Anniversary of the United Nations. This year's theme was "Empowering Women: Promoting Peace and Progress".
The black tie gala brought together eminent persons from various fields including diplomats, policymakers, senior officials of the United Nations, UN supporters, business leaders and celebrities to laud the efforts of individuals and organizations who have selflessly worked for the cause of promoting women's empowerment.
MSNBC anchor and community activist Richard Lui, who has himself spent 25 years in community service in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States, was the Master of Ceremonies at the event.
"I thank all tonight's honourees for helping to advance the cause of gender equality. We cannot fulfill 100 per cent of the world's potential by excluding 50 per cent of the world's people. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all. I look forward to deepening our partnership with the United Nations Association of New York as we work together to build a more sustainable, equitable, peaceful and just world for all," said UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, while congratulating Lord Raj Loomba and other award recipients for their important contributions at the dinner.
Introducing Lord Loomba, former UNA-NY President Dr. Peter V. Rajsingh, noted that it was at this same event ten years ago that Lord Loomba first presented the widows' cause to the United Nations in New York.
"Without Lord Loomba's vision, strength of character and persistence, International Widows Day, which draws the world's attention to the plight of widows, would never have come about. The 245 million widows in the world and their 500 million children, which amounts to over three quarters of a billion people and a sixth of the world's population, salute Lord Loomba for his extraordinary accomplishments," said Rajsingh.
"He personifies what it means to be the change one is seeking to bring about in the world, a man of extraordinary conviction and character who inspires us all," he added.
The Loomba Foundation is the only global charity wholly dedicated to helping widows. Widows in almost every nation around the world are treated worse than other women, who are victims of double discrimination as they are women and they are widows. And until recently, no one acknowledged widows as a distinct category of disadvantaged persons.
On the December 22, 2010 at the 65th UN General Assembly, the United Nations recognized June 23, the day Lord Loomba's mother became a widow at 37, as International Widows Day.
While presenting the Award, UNA-NY President Abid Qureshi said, "The Loomba Foundation's efforts in making widows self-sufficient through skill building, training, provision of business start-up capital, and other programs for economic empowerment, as well as promoting widows' psychological well-being by allowing them to develop self-worth, are truly commendable."
He congratulated Lord Loomba for accomplishing important strides in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
"It is a rare honour for me to be bestowed with this Lifetime Achievement Award. It renews my vigour and passion to help alleviate poverty and the suffering of widows. But it is not a recognition of just one person's life's work - it is in fact a tribute to the unselfish and collective efforts of our patrons, trustees, advisors, partners, donors, supporters and volunteers across the world; it is also a celebration of those poor yet brave widows who believe in the possibility of a better life and who aspire to break the chains of immense economic and societal pressures put on them by systems of institutionalized injustice," said Lord Raj Loomba on receiving the award.
"The trials faced by my mother after being widowed at a young age serve as a constant reminder and inspiration for me to never let this torch fade away till each of the millions of widows and their children globally become self-sufficient and are empowered to lead lives of dignity, free of stigmas and oppression," he added.
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