Dec 2018
Dec 2018

Former President Barrack receives Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award at New York City gala

President Obama receiving the award from Kerry Kennedy

NEW YORK — Former President Barack Obama was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award at a gala in midtown Manhattan on Dec 12.

Also awarded were three other laureates, including, Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav.

They awardees were each selected for their ongoing work toward a more just and peaceful world, and their lifelong work in the fight for social change, equality, justice and global human rights. Past recipients have included Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bono, George Clooney and Robert De Niro.

The awards ceremony raised more than $6 million (Rs 42.6 crores), organizers said. The organization's president, Kerry Kennedy, presented the award, which celebrates leaders "who have demonstrated a commitment to social change."

President Obama was recognized for his longstanding commitment to civic responsibility, social justice, service, and outstanding global and domestic leadership on a wide range of pressing issues.

In his speech, delivered upon his acceptance of the award, Obama looked towards a promising future, saying, “Bobby Kennedy reminds us that if we do our best with the time that we are given, then others will take over in our example. They will find their own strength, they will summon others to hope; and that strength, that hope, will course through their children, their grandchildren, and all the children who come.”

“Bobby Kennedy was one of my heroes,” said President Obama. “I first got into public service because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, believing that my own salvation was bound up with the salvation of others.  That’s something he expressed far better than I ever could when he talked about the power that comes from acting on our ideals, those ripples of hope that can ‘sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’  That’s what I’m determined to help inspire and cultivate over the rest of my career – the idea that anybody can be one of the millions of acts of conscience and voices raised against injustice, the idea that anybody can be one of the ‘million different centers of energy and daring’ who, like Bobby Kennedy, have always changed the world for the better.”

“For a half-century, the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy has been a model for public service based on the simple premise that our highest calling is to leave a more understanding and inclusive world for future generations,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “This is exactly the New Jersey I am working to create – a state that is strong and fair, which welcomes and embraces diversity, and ensures greater educational and economic opportunities for all. To have these efforts recognized, and linked to the legacy of Senator Kennedy, one of my personal heroes, is a tremendous honor.”

"I'm honored to receive the Ripple of Hope Award.  Robert F. Kennedy inspired our nation to rededicate itself to social and economic justice for all Americans, and that critical work continues today.  As CEO of Humana, I’ve committed our company to improving the health of our communities, particularly for older Americans. Access to quality health care is essential if we are to achieve the kind of world that Senator Kennedy dreamed of, and while our work is not done, every day we're making progress toward that goal,” said Broussard.

“I’m greatly honored to be recognized as a 2018 Ripple of Hope laureate alongside this fantastic group of individuals who are committed to positive social change and carrying forward the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy,” said Discovery President & CEO, David Zaslav. “Discovery is committed to informing, inspiring and educating its global viewers with deeply loved content and to making a difference for our planet and local communities around the world. I look forward to our continued journey together to do well by doing good.”

The awards night was hosted by actor Alec Baldwin and was attended by over 1,600 guests, including TV Asia chairman and CEO Padma Shri H R Shah. Special guests included the organization’s president Kerry Kennedy, as well as family members Bobby Kennedy Jr and Caroline Kennedy. Others included, celebrity guests – Robert De Niro, Bianca Jagger, Jon Bon Jovi, Julianna Margulies, John McEnroe and many more.

The evening raised over $6M and the proceeds will go toward providing critical support for the organization’s global social justice and human rights programs.

This year also marks the 50 anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy's campaign for the White House.

 Photo captions: 

President Obama is greeted by TV Asia chairman and CEO, Padma Shri H R Shah. Mr. Shah discussed with President Obama about issues relating to global human rights.

President Obama during his acceptance speech

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy during his acceptance speech

More than 1,600 guests attended the awards gala.

(Photos: Gunjesh Desai)


Dec 2018

Humanitarian Chandrika Tandon to Receive 2019 Horatio Alger Award

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc, a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Chandrika K. Tandon, Chair and Founder of Tandon Capital Associates, Soul Chants Music, and the Krishnamurthy Tandon Foundation has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Ms. Tandon joins 12 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2019 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite adversity, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable endeavors throughout their lives.

Ms. Tandon was born the first daughter of a traditional family in Chennai, India. Raised from an early age to make a good wife, her only exposure to the world at large was through music and the poetry and literature her grandfather shared with her. Though she dreamt of making music her life's work, she was discouraged, as it was not considered a respectable profession at the time. Ms. Tandon instead pursued business, not knowing that music would find her again later in life. Fighting for her dreams against the narrow future her family envisioned, she went on hunger strikes to be allowed to leave home for college and business school. In 1973, Ms. Tandon graduated with a bachelor's degree in commerce from Madras Christian College, and went on to attend the prestigious Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad for her MBA. Immediately thereafter, she began her career for Citibank, starting in war-torn Beirut.

At age 24, Ms. Tandon immigrated to the United States to work for McKinsey and Company, becoming the first Indian woman hired, and all without an American education. She found herself advising CEOs on their biggest problems even though she didn't own a business suit, didn't know how to drive, and was totally new to American culture. With a dogged determination to create impact for businesses and clients, coupled with a fearsome work ethic, she made partner at the firm within a few years. In 1990, she risked her life savings to found Tandon Capital Associates, a financial advisory company, restructuring preeminent financial institutions worldwide, and creating billions of dollars of market cap. This decision quickly catapulted her to a new echelon.

At the pinnacle of her career, despite all the trappings of success, Ms. Tandon became increasingly tormented by life's bigger questions. She was compelled to reevaluate her definitions of success, and self-reflection led her to remember that the happiest moments of her childhood were tied to music. Ms. Tandon decided to pursue singing as an extension of her professional life, often leaving home at 4:00 a.m. for lessons on Saturdays so that she could learn from artists she idolized. Her dedication to the craft has since gained admiration around the world, allowing her to perform for millions, release four albums, and in 2011, garnering her a Grammy nomination for her album, Soul Call

"Chandrika is a visionary who took control of her future at a young age," said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. "Despite barriers, she never lost sight of her goals, and fought for the life she wanted and deserved. We are delighted to welcome Chandrika as a lifetime Member, and I look forward to sharing her story of triumph and accomplishment with our Scholars."

In the past 20 years, Ms. Tandon has used her business skills and resources pro bono to better humanity and commit to a life of public service. Through the Krishnamurthy Tandon Foundation, she strategically directs resources to create pathways to economic, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being for all. As one of the largest Indian-American donors to American higher education, Ms. Tandon and her husband have given $100 million to the New York University (NYU) Polytechnic School of Engineering, renamed the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She serves as Vice Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees and sits on the boards of the NYU Langone Health System, the NYU Stern School of Business and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. From 2002 to 2008, she served as NYU Stern's Distinguished Executive in Residence, where she lectured about business transformation and leadership, and earned the Walter Nichols Medal in 2009. In 2016, she received the university's highest honor, the Gallatin Medal.

"I spent my life working hard to create impact for businesses and society," said Ms. Tandon. "But I know I would not be where I am today without the teachers and supporters I've had – especially my grandfather. My love for music has been an important outlet for me in finding myself, and for that, I am forever grateful. I hope I can help to advocate for our young Horatio Alger Scholars as they fight for their professional and personal passions, just as I did."

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $159 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.

"Ms. Tandon defines tenacity and boldness – characteristics that many of our Scholars also embody," said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. "Her business acumen, dedication to service and passion for education will serve our Association well. I'm certain she will be a tremendous role model for the young men and women we support."

Ms. Tandon and the Member Class of 2019 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 4-6, 2019, during the Association's 72nd Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact as well as exchange stories of hardships and triumphs.

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