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Power, Purpose and Peace

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Power, Purpose & Peace-

Asia Initiatives Annual Gala

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“I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.”  

Dr. Steve Maraboli

Dr. Maraboli, helps us understand why It is true, when we think about the long-term impact and perhaps our influence on other human beings. It also gives us real value of what we do and how we need to see things differently. Dr. Geeta Mehta, Co-Founder of Asia Initiatives with her untiring efforts, describes her mission, “Social Capital Credits is an innovative methodology to promote social good.” SoCCs are community currency and we aim to make communities resilient and economically empowered. Our work as a team is to enhance lifelong skills through social capital credits. Women need support and believe in Human Capital and identify it as a significant domain when it comes to sustainable progress, peace and economic empowerment.

On Thursday, October 18th was a night of celebration and splendor. Asia Initiatives, a non-profit based in New York organized held it’s 17th annual gala, honoring the efforts of individuals around the world who promote causes of women’s empowerment. Working towards creating a more equal society, Asia Initiatives, in collaboration with former Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon established the ‘Ban ki-Moon award for Women’s Empowerment.’ The Secretary General himself was there, for the second year in a row to present the award to honorees, Dr. Susan Blaustein, Founder and Director, WomenStrong International and Dr. Chelsea Clinton, Vice President of the Clinton Foundation. In addition to the honorees, inspiring individuals such as Eva Haller, well known philanthropist and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina J. Mohammad graced the evening with their presence.

       Guests included prominent leaders of New York society, government officials, students and like-minded individuals all united for a common cause to support Asia Initiative’s important work around the world. Social Capital concept of AI employs SoCCratic dialogues, Earning and Redeeming Menus and monitors tangible outcomes. Individuals earn SoCCs for participating in activities that benefit the community around them. In exchange, they can redeem SoCCs for skill building missions such as digital and financial literacy classes and for loans at low interest rates to support new businesses. The Asia Initiatives method is catered to each community and is constantly adapting and changing, thus making SoCCs a truly globally applicable innovation. By making communities in charge of their own development, Asia Initiatives provide a kind of independence that traditional methods of aid cannot. Through its empowering ideology, this organization has successfully launched programs in Kenya, Ghana, India, the United States and Costa Rica, just to name a few. Each year, through the generous contributions of supported, Asia Initiatives expands its impact and reaches countless lives through its incredible efforts.

          An extra special part of this evening was the celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights. The gala incorporated traditional elements of this South Asian festival, including the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by Madame Soon Taek, Ms. Amina Mohammad and the honorees. Following that came remarks by the former Secretary General, who has been a longtime supporter of Asia Initiatives and its mission. In his speech, he referred to the importance of organizations that work to empower women & create more equality in leadership and political participation. He also admired the honorees & the important work their organizations do.

    The first honoree of the night was Dr. Blaustein. As Founder and Director at WomenStrong International, Susan Blaustein works to empower and promote women-led initiatives around the world. An ardent believer in the strength and expertise of women to change the local community around them, Susan started WomenStrong to help women achieve their full potential and become powerful stakeholders in their communities. Apart from being the head of WSI, Susan is also a professor at Columbia University and is a regular contributor to publications such as The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Susan’s strong focus on sustainable urban development is witnessed through her efforts in Sub Saharan Africa through the Millennium Cities Initiative, which she founded at Columbia.

      Dr. Mahinder Tak, a prominent political activist and art collector introduced Dr. Clinton. As Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea Clinton works to create greater opportunities for people to build better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities. Clinton is a tireless advocate for the empowerment of girls and women. As the author of “She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World” and the companion “She Persisted Around the World,” Clinton promotes the stories of empowered women to children, ensuring that young girls and boys have positive female role models. Additionally, she is focused on expanding access to early childhood education, improving the health and well-being of Americans across the country, and providing the next generation of young leaders with the resources they need to turn their ideas into action.

      A fireside chat with the honorees greatly inspired many in the room. Talking about everything under the sun from women’s issues to the importance of voting and encouraging young people to participate in politics. The room was rapt with attention as the women spoke about their experiences in their fields and gave valuable advice to youth considering advocacy.

       It was a night to remember, filled with music, dance and laughter. More than anything, it was a night to celebrate incredible women and their legacy, all while supporting a great cause.

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