UNA-NY Presents 2009 Humanitarian Awards and Celebrates UN Day

On Thursday, October 22, the United Nations Association of New York held its annual Humanitarian Awards dinner in New York City. This year's theme, "Protecting Our Planet Earth," highlighted initiatives creating lasting environmental and climate change benefits. Lord Norman Foster of Thames Bank OM, Founder and Chairman of Foster + Partners and Mr. Albert Carey, President and CEO of Frito-Lay North America (a division of PepsiCo), were honored for their accomplishments in green architecture and environmental corporate social responsibility respectively.

John Sweeney, Hiroshi Murakami (President of Toray Industries America, Inc.), Paula Rice Jackson, Lord Norman Foster, Dr. Peter Rajsingh

From left: John Sweeney, Hiroshi Murakami (President of Toray Industries America, Inc.), Paula Rice Jackson, Lord Norman Foster, Dr. Peter Rajsingh.

The evening opened with a reception at which Lord Foster received his award from gala co-chair Paula Rice Jackson. In his enthusiastic remarks he emphasized his commitment to environmentally responsible architecture and stressed how general the sustainability option was in building design, including the value of recycling buildings by reformatting interiors while keeping exteriors intact, as has been the practice in so many landmarked New York buildings. Committed to a holistic approach to infrastructure, architecture and product design, Lord Foster believes architects can design energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable buildings. He has led the development of several renowned green projects such as The Reichstag in Berlin; City Hall-Greater London Authority Headquarters; Free University Berlin; and the Hearst Tower in New York. Some of these buildings are energy-supplied by renewable bio-fuel, virtually eliminating energy waste.

Albert Carey, CEO and President of Frito-Lay North America, Inc. was honored for his leadership and Frito Lay's initiative in working towards reducing the environmental impact of their products and making environmental conservation a key consideration within their manufacturing process. He introduced his team at Frito-Lay and gave a spirited presentation outlining in detail his corporate vision. Mr. Carey has helped implement an elaborate environmental sustainability program. Integrating green processes and technology into its operations more than a decade ago, the company has reduced the amount of electricity required to make individual snack bags by 22 percent, and uses 120,000 tons less paperboard annually by reusing cartons five to six times each, among other initiatives. Mr. Carey acknowledged the collaboration of Toray Industries in the production of biodegradable packaging for the new generation of Frito-Lay products.

Lord Norman Foster and Albert Carey

Lord Norman Foster and Albert Carey.

120 guests were seated for the dinner and following the welcome from our President, John Sweeney, the Master of Ceremonies Dr. Peter Rajsingh reiterated UNA-NY's theme of support for the Millennium Development Goals which are the Humanitarian Awards criteria for recognition.

Diplomatic representation from the UN included US Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, Ambassador Al-Nasser of Qatar, Ambassador Andrianarivelo-Razafy of Madagascar, Mr. Mohamed Edrees, Deputy Permanent Representative of Egypt and Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the UN Office for Partnership.

Past UNA-NY Humanitarian Award recipients include: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland; former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, Sadayuki Sakakibara, President of Toray Industries, Inc.; Antony Burgmans, former Chairman of Unilever; Robert L. Corcoran, President of General Electric Foundation; Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF; and Guy Laliberte, Founder and Chief Executive of Cirque du Soleil and the One Drop Foundation.

Entertainment offered by musicians from the Juilliard School skillfully blended Irish and Japanese musical traditions. Adding meaning to the evening were contemporary "peace dove" vases created by potter Miranda Thomas, which decorated each table and provided significant sponsorship interest as they were auctioned at the end of the evening.