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Nicole Kidman hails UNIFEM's 30th anniversary

Nicole Kidman hails UN Development Fund for Women’s 30th anniversary

Paying tribute to three decades of work by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), agency Goodwill Ambassador and internationally renowned actress Nicole Kidman has hosted a gala in New York honouring Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO of Federated Department Stores, Inc.

“Commemorating UNIFEM’s 30th anniversary is a special opportunity for me to bring UNIFEM’s accomplishments to the attention of a larger audience of concerned citizens,” said Ms. Kidman as she welcomed a packed room of almost 500 guests on Saturday evening.

“So many people have come together this evening, not just to look back on UNIFEM’s 30 very impressive years but to look ahead – when you’ve been blessed with a fortunate life, it is very much your duty to find the places where you can give back,” she said. “I’m so proud to be part of UNIFEM’s present and future.”

UNIFEM used the occasion to honour President Johnson Sirleaf as the recipient of its first Global Leadership Award, in recognition of her efforts to advance women’s rights, and her new role as the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa.

Terry J. Lundgren, CEO of Federated Department Stores, the parent company of Macy’s department store, received UNIFEM’s first Global Championship Award. Macy’s is a key partner of the Rwanda Path to Peace project, launched in 2005 to open a global market for women artisans, most of them genocide widows in the country.

The Path to Peace project had its early beginnings in 2002 when UNIFEM chief Noeleen Heyzer visited Rwanda and was struck by the beauty of the traditional baskets woven by rural women. On her return to the US, she approached a group of American businesswomen to help develop a market for Rwandan basketwork. Three years later, through the facilitation of artist and UNIFEM supporter Willa Shalit, the baskets were being sold at Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in New York.

Speaking of the three decades of UNIFEM’s efforts to empower women and improve their lives, Ms. Heyzer acknowledged the importance of partners, “every step of the way.”

While hailing progress achieved in its three decades of work, she cautioned that much remains to be done. “On our 30th anniversary, my wish is for a strong UNIFEM to reach more people with the power to change the conditions under which women work and live, making the world a more just, equitable and happier place for all,” she said.

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