Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle Honors First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani
The Asia Foundation and the Lotus Circle, a community of U.S. individuals, foundations, and corporations who raise private capital to rapidly respond to challenges and opportunities facing women in Asia, honored First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mrs. Rula Ghani at the sixth annual Lotus Leadership Awards Gala in New York City on Wednesday, May 11. Mrs. Ghani, selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015, was recognized for her efforts to improve living standards for Afghan women. Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, accepted a Lotus Leadership Award on behalf of the institution for its partnership with The Asia Foundation to improve access to university and advanced level education to Afghan women. Proceeds from the evening will support innovative women’s empowerment projects at the Foundation.
The evening is a platform for advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls. Former ABC 20/20 correspondent Lynn Sherr hosted, joined by surprise guest Zari, Sesame Workshop’s first Afghan Muppet girl. Former First Lady Laura Bush recorded a special video message congratulating Mrs. Ghani. The Asia Foundation is grateful to Premier Sponsor Bank of America Merrill Lynch. MasterCard and Vista Equity Partners are Golden Benefactors. Bravia Capital; Carnegie Corporation of New York; EY; Kirkland & Ellis; and Morgan Stanley are Benefactors. Special thanks to The Estee Lauder Companies.