Asia Foundation and The
Lotus Circle, a community of individuals and organizations working
with The Asia Foundation to empower women and girls in Asia, today honor
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus at the fourth annual Lotus
Leadership Awards in New York City, now an evening gala. Professor
Yunus will receive a Lotus Award for his Nobel Prize-winning vision to
give small loans to poor women to lift themselves out of poverty. The
Estée Lauder Companies will also receive a Lotus Award for its
partnership with the Foundation to help young girls in Vietnam to
continue their secondary school education. The Asia Foundation is a
pioneer in women's economic empowerment, recognized widely as a driver
of poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth.
Asia Foundation Trustee Ambassador Melanne
Verveer will host the evening's celebration. Ambassador Verveer was
appointed by President Obama in 2009 as the First U.S.
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues and worked on behalf of
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton and Former
President Jimmy Carter will make special video appearances
congratulating the honorees and recognizing The Asia Foundation's Women's
Empowerment Program, now in its 20th year. Missie
Rennie, vice chair of Foundation's Board of Trustees and a former
CBS News executive producer and winner of a George Foster Peabody Award
and her husband Zach Taylor; and Winne
Feng, who has served on the Metropolitan Museum's executive
committee for Friends of Asian Art, and her husband Michael, are gala
"Access to finance is a key issue for women entrepreneurs and Professor
Yunus has helped level the playing field so that women can access credit
and lift themselves and their families out of poverty," said Carol
Yost, senior director of the Women's
Empowerment Program at The Asia Foundation. In the 1970s, Professor
Yunus began giving small loans to poor village women to start a business
in Bangladesh and he made micro-finance a household word through The
Grameen Bank that has now been replicated in more than 100 countries
reaching millions of disadvantaged women.
"We value The Estée Lauder Companies' generous commitment to improving
the lives of young women in Asia," said Yost. In 2014, the Foundation
and The Estée Lauder Companies announced
the expansion of a multi-year partnership to provide disadvantaged girls
in Vietnam with scholarships to attend secondary school for three years.
More than 200 girls in the Mekong Delta region have been able to stay in
school and reach their full potential. "Together, The Estée Lauder
Companies and The Lotus Circle make it possible for us to reach girls
and women in Asia to Tell
Her She Can," said Yost.
Nani Zulminarni, founder of Women-Headed Household Empowerment in
Indonesia, or PEKKA, will also receive a Lotus Leadership Award. Since
2001, she has helped more than 10,000 women heads of household in 19
The Lotus Leadership Awards were created by a group of individuals and
organizations who share The Asia Foundation's goal of helping women and
girls in Asia reach their full potential and to "Tell Her She Can."
Proceeds will be used to fund pilot projects to empower women and girls
in the region. The Estée Lauder Companies is the Premier Sponsor of this
year's awards. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Vista Equity Partners
are Golden Benefactors. Bravia Capital; China Guardian Auctions Co, LTD;
Christie's; EY; Kirkland & Ellis; Morgan Stanley; Tiffany & Co.; and
Toyota are Benefactors. Chevron and Citi Private Bank are Patrons.
To mark the Foundation's 60th anniversary, President David
D. Arnold earlier this year announced
a year-long global campaign focused on critical issues affecting Asia in
the 21st century, including the exclusion of women from political and
economic life. Mr. Arnold argued that the issue threatens to reverse
Asia's economic gains and undermine its future growth and development.
To learn more, read In
Asia for interviews with Gala Co-Chair and Lotus Circle Advisor
Winnie Feng on her belief in the importance of empowerment and
education, an interview with Ms. Zulminarni, and an essay by Véronique
Salze-Lozac'h, the Foundation's Senior Director for Economic
Engage with us on Facebook,
Follow #LotusCircle and #Asia60 for updates.
The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development
organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and
developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local
expertise, our programs address critical issues affecting Asia in the
21st century-governance and law, economic development, women's
empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation. In addition, our
Books for Asia and professional exchange programs are among the ways we
encourage Asia's continued development as a peaceful, just, and thriving
region of the world.
Headquartered in San Francisco, The Asia Foundation works through a
network of offices in 18 Asian countries and in Washington, DC. Working
with public and private partners, the Foundation receives funding from a
diverse group of bilateral and multilateral development agencies,
foundations, corporations, and individuals. In 2013, we provided nearly
$114 million in direct program support and distributed textbooks and
other educational materials valued at over $10 million.
High-resolution images of the gala available.
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