The Fourth Annual Lotus Leadership Awards Gala
The 4th Annual Lotus Leadership Awards Gala
The Lotus Leadership Awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made major contributions to the well-being of women and their communities in Asia. This annual event is hosted by The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle, a group of committed individuals, foundations, and corporations working together with us to advance the rights and opportunities of women across the Asia-Pacific region. This year, we also celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Asia Foundation, as well as the 20th anniversary of its Women’s Empowerment Program.
The Fourth Annual Lotus Leadership Awards Gala honored the work of Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, in recognition of his efforts to eliminate economic inequality, which have given millions of women and their families the opportunity to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Professor Yunus is world-renowned for his Nobel-prize winning work with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which he founded in 1976 to combat extreme poverty, particularly among women, through micro-loans. Today, the Grameen Bank has nearly 8.4 million members in Bangladesh – nearly 97 percent of whom are women – and has lent over $12.5 billion. The Grameen model has been replicated in more than 100 countries around the world and now benefits tens of millions of others.
We also honored Ms. Nani Zulminarni, the National Coordinator of PEKKA or “Women-Headed Household Empowerment,” an Indonesian NGO that works with widows and other women in conflict-affected areas. Ms. Zulminarni, an Asia Foundation partner, has helped change the lives of thousands of women in 17 provinces across Indonesia, enabling them to gain economic opportunities as well as a voice in their households and communities.
The Lotus Circle was also pleased to recognize The Estée Lauder Companies for their major contributions to women's well-being and support for The Asia Foundation's program to educate poor girls in Vietnam. Through an ongoing partnership with The Asia Foundation since 2010, The Estée Lauder Scholars in Vietnam Program provides scholarships for disadvantaged girls in the Mekong Delta region to continue their secondary school education, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential. To date, 204 girls have benefitted from this wonderful opportunity.
The annual Lotus Leadership Awards are made possible by the active support of our Lotus Circle Advisors. Our 2014 Gala Co-Chairs were Missie Rennie & Zach Taylor and Winnie & Michael Feng. Our 2014 Gala Vice Chairs were Gina Lin Chu, Meredith Ludlow, Janet Montag, Masako Shinn, and Judy Wilbur.
The Honorable Sapana Pradhan Malla
The Asia Foundation paid tribute to The Honorable Sapana Pradhan Malla, a long-time Foundation partner, with a Lotus Leadership Award in 2013. Ms. Malla is a lawyer, advocate of Nepal's Supreme Court, and a leading women's rights activist. She is also a former member of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly and was the driving force behind the passage of the Human Trafficking Act, which has become a model for the region.
Mr. Chong Moon Lee
In 2013, The Asia Foundation also recognized Mr. Chong Moon Lee, a prominent Asian American philanthropist. Mr. Lee funded an anti-trafficking pilot program in Southeast Asia through The Asia Foundation, which implemented a public awareness campaign to educate women and girls about trafficking and provided vocational training scholarships to victims and women and girls who are at risk of trafficking.
The National Geographic Society
Together over the last decade, The Asia Foundation and the National Geographic Society have made large-scale improvements to girls' schools that have impacted the lives of thousands of Afghan girls, their families, and their communities – with benefits that will last for generations to come. In 2012, the Foundation honored this partnership by presenting the National Geographic Society with a Lotus Leadership Award to recognize their commitment to girls' education in Afghanistan.
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi
In 2012, The Asia Foundation also honored Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Founder and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning and an Asia Foundation partner, for her groundbreaking and visionary work empowering communities to bring education and health services to disfranchised Afghan women and girls.
Dr. David Ho
In 2011, the Foundation honored leading AIDS researcher Dr. David D. Ho with the first annual Lotus Leadership Award. Dr. Ho revolutionized the world's understanding of HIV/AIDS; his groundbreaking research and advocacy catalyzed landmark treatment and prevention programs in China, and has dramatically improved the health and well-being of Chinese women and children.