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"They've shattered every glass ceiling in the world. That's why we founded Vital Voices in the first place," an impassioned Hillary Clinton declared at the 13th Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards held Tuesday evening in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center.
Investing in women with vision who galvanize others has been the organization's mission. More than 14,000 women from 144 countries in the past 17 years, through their transformative leadership, have changed lives and empowered future generations.
Honoring Razan Zaitouneh with the 2014 Global Trailblazer Award, former First Lady and Secretary of State described the young woman who created Syria's first human rights information bank at 27. Quietly she recorded the abduction, arrest, torture and murder of peaceful protestors.
"Last December, she was abducted. Her vital voice is silent now, even as her country continues to burn," said Clinton. "Let us demand the immediate and safe return of Razan. We will not forget her." Rana Zaitouneh accepted the award and spoke of her sister's bravery and dedication.
Following an introduction by Vital Voices President and CEO, Alyse Nelson, the hour-and-a-half program honoring creative and courageous women, began with iconic fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, a Vital Voices board member who, with the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, established the DVF Awards to honor and provide grants to women of commitment.
Introducing Priti Patkar, Vital Voices Human Rights Awardee, von Furstenberg described her leadership in taking action to "keep kids safe from perpetrators. Priti found a solution before most people recognized there was a problem. Working for the last 28 years, 10,000 lives have been saved by Priti."
Guatemala's first female Attorney General, Claudia Paz y Paz was recognized for Leadership in Public Life for dismantling a culture of impunity, and founding a human rights organization that promotes restorative justice.
Co-host of CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell paid tribute to the legacy of human rights activist, Fern Holland, who was killed while working for women's rights in Iraq. The Fern Holland Award was presented to Suaad Allami for opening the first legal clinic for women in Iraq.
Victoria had one cow named Sero. That's how Dr. Victoria Kisyombe began her ascent from poverty and started a business for herslf and thousands of Tanzanian women. She opeend SELFINA (Sero Lease and Finance Ltd) a leasing and loaning business of "productive assets like Sero" which has provided 25,000 leases and issued $16 million in credit to women over the last 12 years.
Presenters also included Susan Ann Davis, Board Chair of Vital Voices, Anne Finucane, Global Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Bank of America, Vi Holland-Christianson, Executive Director of the The Fern L. Holland Charitable Foundation, and Melanne Verveer, director of Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security.
The evening ended with a musical tribute by Women of the World.
"As a Venetian, I’m very proud to see these five windows overlooking the canal," said Andrea Rubelli, president and CEO of Donghia. On behalf of his team, including Chuck Chewning, the creative force behind the Donghia brand, Rubelli continued, “We’re thrilled to be in the Georgetown district where we have a new home for our designers.”
The contemporary home furnishings design trade showroom specializing in sophisticated decorative fabrics and furniture recently relocated from The Washington Design Center and celebrated with an opening reception Thursday in Georgetown.
The evening’s very special guest, editor in chief of Architectural Digest, Margaret Russell helped turn out an A-List of the city's design professionals. With personal styles befitting their acclaimed work, the chicly attired guests mingled over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Donghia’s Carolyn Reed noted the teamwork and synergy between Donghia and its partners, singling out Boyd Lighting as a perfect example. “I applaud our president and CEO, Andrea for being such a visionary, and putting Donghia in such a fabulous space.”
Created by the late Italian-American designer Angelo Donghia, Donghia’s collections of furniture, textiles, wallcoverings, lighting, accessories and upholstery are sold exclusively to interior designers and architects through their 12 showrooms across the country and more than 50 representative showrooms throughout the world. While their furniture is manufactured in the United States, accessories are handmade by Venetian craftsman on the island of Murano, Italy.
“With a 40 year history at the forefront of the luxury home furnishings industry, Donghia is an excellent complement to the mix of design oriented retailers that the Georgetown community is accustomed to, serving as a reminder that this retail corridor remains DC’s primary destination for luxury, design and fashion,” said Philippe Lanier, vice president of EastBanc. “Donghia is the perfect addition to Cady’s Alley and we welcome them to our neighborhood.”
When all the stuff in a place you've always called home suddenly disappears, you become nostalgic for some tangible reminders of your past. At least I do.
So it was last year when I consigned or gave away almost everything in the house my parents lived in for more than 50 years. Though my mother died 14 years ago, it had remained virtually unchanged since my childhood until my father moved to assisted living.
I'd always had a a passion for the accoutrements of entertaining. Since I was tall enough to see through the glass cabinet where they sat, I would admire my mother's exquisite collection of late 19th and early 20th century European porcelain demitasse cups and saucers as I passed through the dining room.
But a girl's gotta have principles. Ok, I will admit that most of mine are design-related. No tchotchkes, no slipcovers, no cabinet knobs or drawer pulls, nothing purely decorative. So, while I have made excuses for many extravagant tableware purchases through the decades citing their functionality (in varying degrees) and daily use, miniature cups did not make the cut. But I wrapped them all up in tissue paper and brought them to my place anyway, even adding a few contemporary ones of my own.
For several years I had been designing this piece in my head: a bench/storage unit that would also showcase a carefully curated assortment of tiny theoretically functional vessels.
The brilliant Philadelphia-based metal furniture designer Gary Magakis, has brought my vision to life, and delivered it this week. It's been 20 years since purchasing my first Magakis piece, a large custom-made patinated steel and bronze cabinet. Then came two stools. And now, this wonderful homage to my dear mother.
Shots, kale juice, mousse, anyone?