International Awards Gala 2012

NEW YORK, September 19, 2012—At the Institute of International Education’s awards gala on September 18th at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street, nearly 500 business, education, government, foundation and policy leaders celebrated the 2012 award winners’ commitment to the Institute’s mission of Opening Minds to the World® and rescuing threatened scholars. The event raised $1.2 million for the Institute of International Education and $6 million in support for IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund, which includes $3 million in new gifts and a $3 million match from SRF’s founding Chairman, Dr. Henry Jarecki. At the event, Dr. Jarecki announced he will become Chairman Emeritus and turn over the role of Chairman to Mark Angelson, who is the Treasurer of IIE’s Board of Trustees and a longtime member of the SRF Advisory Board. See photos and videos from the events, visit the Gala site.

Noted New York financial world leaders Henry Jarecki, Henry Kaufman, Thomas Russo and George Soros, the founders of IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund, received IIE’s Humanitarian Award for their visionary leadership that has saved the lives and work of hundreds of threatened scholars, and they each gave personal reflections on their commitment to scholar rescue. Senator Patrick J. Leahy was the special guest presenter for this award. Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan, who was an honorary co-chair for the event, spoke about the award recipients’ outstanding commitment to the fund, and noted that their work has made a remarkable impact in protecting threatened academics and advancing academic freedom around the world.

Scholars have long suffered harassment, torture and persecution as a result of their work. In the worst cases, scholars pay with their lives for their dedication to scholarship and freedom of thought. IIE has participated in the rescue of persecuted scholars since its founding in 1919, mobilizing to help scholars who were affected by specific events in their countries. In 2002, the four founders had the vision to launch the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) as a formalized response to this ongoing international dilemma, creating a fund that is ready to respond quickly to urgent crises and to assist individual scholars who have immediate need.

IIE also presented Western Union President and Chief Executive Officer Hikmet Ersek with its Opening Minds Corporate Leadership Award on behalf of the company, in recognition of Western Union’s exemplary leadership and outstanding commitment to education and corporate social responsibility around the globe. The award presentation and video featured the success of the Western Union Foundation Family Scholarship Program, administered by IIE, and several recipients of this scholarship were present at the dinner. The Family Scholarship Program is intended to help two members of a family move up the economic ladder through education. Scholarships are used for college tuition, language acquisition, technical training and GED classes. “The Family Scholarship Program has played a significant role in Western Union’s vision to create a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all,“ said Luella Chavez D’Angelo, Senior Vice President, Western Union Social Ventures and President, Western Union Foundation. “The Family Scholarship program is one means of realizing this vision by supporting education as a pathway toward a better future for individuals, families and entire communities, as well as the lives of their families back home.” Because two family members receive a scholarship for the type of education they need, the program creates a brighter future for an entire family.

HE John Atta Mills, President of Ghana, was honored posthumously with The Fritz Redlich Alumni Award, in recognition of his highly distinguished career as a president whose commitment to education helped to prepare an entire generation in Ghana for today’s competitive, globalized economy. President Mills was a Fulbright Scholar to Stanford University in 1971, and has said that his education at Stanford played a pivotal role in his education and his career. IIE administers the Fulbright Student, Scholar, and Teacher Programs for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The award was accepted by the Former First Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills. Assistant Secretary of State Ann Stock spoke about President Mills and the Fulbright Program.

The Honorary Chairs of the Gala were The Honorable Kofi Annan and HRH Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan, and the Co-Chairs include: Mark Angelson – Former Deputy Mayor of the City of Chicago; Maryam Panahy Ansary – IIE Trustee; Denise and Robert Benmosche – IIE Trustee and CEO, American International Group, Inc.; Leon Botstein – President, Bard College; Amy C. Brandt – CEO, Vantium Capital, Inc.; Isabelle and Scott Freidheim – CEO, Europe, Investcorp International Ltd.; Susan and Peter M. Gottsegen – Senior Partner, CAI Partners; Donna and Jack M. Greenberg – Chairman, Western Union Company; Norman and Ruth Hinerfeld – IIE Trustee; Sharon and Lawrence D. Hite – SRF Board Member and ISAM Capital Management; S.A. Ibrahim – CEO, Radian Group Inc.; Helene and Mark Kaplan – Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Margaret Ann and Thomas S. Johnson – Retired Chairman & CEO, GreenPoint Bank and Chairman of IIE’s Board of Trustees; Hamid Biglari and Laya Khadjavi – Senior Advisor, ICE Canyon LLC.

The Angelson Family Foundation provided generous underwriting for the event.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE), a private not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright Student and Scholar programs, the Gilman International Scholarship Program, and the Humphrey Fellowships, administered for the U.S. Department of State, as well as corporate and foundation training and scholarship programs. IIE also conducts policy research, provides advice and counseling on international educational opportunities abroad, and provides emergency support to students and scholars in danger. The Institute of International Education has a network of 17 international offices worldwide and more than 1,000 college and university members. More than 60 Fulbright alumni, IIE alumni, IIE trustees and advisers have received Nobel Prizes.

About IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)

The Scholar Rescue Fund provides fellowships for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries. These fellowships permit professors, researchers and public intellectuals to find temporary refuge at universities, colleges and research centers anywhere in the world, enabling them to pursue their academic work in safety and to continue to share their knowledge with students, colleagues and the community. In its first 10 years, SRF has provided fellowships to 450 remarkable scholars from 48 countries and has launched the Iraq Scholar Rescue Project, which has assisted more than 250 of Iraq’s most senior and threatened academics in a wide range of academic disciplines – through temporary academic positions at universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning in the Middle East and North African regions.

Note to editors:
Photos and videos from the gala are available upon request. Honorees and gala leadership are available for interview. Please contact Sharon Witherell,


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