Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Women Who Redefine Beauty and Power Honored at the DVF Awards

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Fighters, survivors, builders and advocates were among those honored with a $50,000 prize at the 7th annual DVF Awards

By ALLISON MCNEARNEY for The New York Times

The fashion was on point Thursday night at the 7th annual DVF Awards, but it wasn’t nearly as stunning as the accomplishments of the women who took the stage to be honored for their work supporting women around the world.

Backed by The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, the DVF Awards honor “women who have had the courage to fight, the power to survive and the leadership to inspire,” with a $50,000 prize. Among this year’s five winners were a survivor of Uganda’s Civil War who fights human trafficking around the world, an award-winning playwright, and a woman creating a community that encourages girls to throw off expectations and be their authentic selves.

“Year after year, this event is an absolute high point of Women in the World. So bold, so passionate are DVF’s honorees, so profound the difference that they make, it’s wonderful to think that she’s shining her spotlight — that magical spotlight that she has — on the great work that they’re all doing,” Women in the World founder Tina Brown said in her introduction of Diane von Furstenberg.

Von Furstenberg kicked off the evening by first saluting two women who were not present: the incredible architect Zaha Hadid, who passed away last week at the age of 65, and 2015 presenter and now presidential-candidate, Hillary Clinton. “Please spread the word. We want her as our president,” von Furstenberg exhorted the champagne-sipping crowd to loud cheers.

But it was the first winner who really stole the show. Sarah Jones is an award-winning playwright who has dedicated her life and much of her work to the empowerment of women. As presenter and actress Allison Williams put it, she is “one of the shepherds of the real revolution.” To accept the Inspiration Award — and to the delight of the audience — Jones brought along a few of her characters, like young Bella who took a group selfie from the podium, telling the crowd to “channel your inner DVF and just try to feel it.” Her last “guest,” an older woman “from the subcontinent,” left the room in stitches with her final message for DVF: “We love you. We want you to know we have been wrapping the sari for a very long time.”

While Jones may have been a tough act to follow, the two winners of the International Award had powerful messages of their own. Maria Pacheco was honored for her work to economically empower women through her company Wakami, which employees rural Guatemalan women to create fashion accessories that are sold in over 20 countries. And Agnes Igoye has dedicated her life to the efforts to end human trafficking around the world, a mission she became committed to after her childhood experience surviving the Ugandan Civil War and the brutal violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

“As many of you know, and what I’ve learned through the two decades in this work, traffickers have powerful networks. The networks are in my country, they are here in the USA, they are everywhere around the world,” Igoye said. “The only way we can fight them is to have networks of our own. Networks among girlfriends, networks among NGOs, among law enforcement, social workers, survivors, but above all to empower women.”

Emily Greener, winner of the People’s Voice Award, has also taken up the mission of empowerment through her movement I AM THAT GIRL. In 2008, Greener and a friend started what is now a thriving peer-to-peer community dedicated to “creating a new normal” where girls enable and support each other to be their authentic selves. “What it means to be human is honesty, it’s truth. It’s being who we are instead of who we think we’re supposed to be,” Greener passionately said.

For the final award of the evening, von Furstenberg took the stage one last time to give a powerful introduction of the winner of the Lifetime Leadership Award. “Impossible does not exist for Dr. Martine Rothblatt. But I am possible is Martine Rothblatt,” von Furstenberg said. Rothblatt’s career has spanned an almost unimaginably vast range of interests, from the law of outer space to her role founding Sirius XM. But it’s her work for transgender rights around the world that has really distinguished her as a champion of women.

“I don’t really know if I can possibly put into words what it feels like for a transgendered woman to be recognized by this room full of extraordinarily accomplished women as a woman for being an inspiration and a help to other women,” Rothblatt said.

In her emotional acceptance speech, Rothblatt also praised the work von Furstenberg’s daughter, Tatiana, has done for the transgendered community. Rothblatt ended with a powerful message for the room packed with inspirational figures and activists, about the importance of cultivating the next generation of world changers. “What a wonderful testament to this icon, for me and for, I know, all of you here today, Diane, when a parent is able to have a daughter such as Tatiana that carries on this mission of justice into the next generation,” Rothblatt said. “I don’t think there’s any greater achievement.”

High Fashion Meets High Impact at the 6th Annual DVF Awards

Friday, April 24th, 2015

BY JORDAN LARSON for The New York Times Presented by the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation in conjunction with the Women in the World Summit, the annual DVF Awards in New York City on Thursday celebrated the strength and dedication of women around the world. The Foundation honored six philanthropists with five $50,000 awards to help further their work of empowering women around the world, from developing sustainable economic practices in Samoa to providing job training in impoverished communities. Among those honored were Ambassador Melanne Verveer, the United States’ first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the State Department, and Gabrielle Giffords, who has dedicated her life to fighting gun violence after being shot in 2011 while serving as a U.S. Representative from Arizona.

Hosted in a suite at the United Nations headquarters overlooking the East River, the celebration brought together powerful women from all walks of life; award presenters included actresses Dakota Fanning and Maggie Gyllenhaal, model Naomi Campbell, and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Following an opening performance by French pop group Christine and the Queens, Tina Brown began the evening of recognition with a tribute to the fashion mogul (and her longtime friend) Diane von Furstenberg. “True beauty… is strength,” she recalled her friend telling her. “I’ve never met a woman who wasn’t strong.”

Von Furstenberg then took the stage, emphasizing in her speech that the fight for women’s equality around the world is far from over. “The situation for women in the world is not what it should be. And we are regressing,” she said, citing violence against women and human trafficking as pressing concerns. “Let us remember, if we have a voice, it is our obligation and privilege to use that voice for those who have none.”

Hillary Clinton presented the first award of the evening—the Lifetime Leadership Award—to Ambassador Melanne Verveer, with whom she worked as both First Lady and Secretary of State. “Everywhere women need a champion, she shows up,” said Clinton. “She is the advocate that women and girls need in their corner.”

Verveer was appointed the country’s first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the State Department by Obama in 2009, and also served as the U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Between working in Clinton’s State Department and as the First Lady’s chief of staff, Verveer has spent a lot of time traveling and working with Clinton. “I have become a certified member of the sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits,” she noted, to laughter from the audience. Now, Verveer directs Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, which promotes the role of women as peacemakers through scholarship and research. “If we just look at women as victims, no matter what they endure, we will never see them for the leaders that they are,” said Verveer.

Naomi Campbell then presented Adi Tafuna’i with a Vital Voice Award for her work building sustainable economies in Samoa and other Pacific island nations, where families are often split apart when adults leave to find work elsewhere. “We are so isolated from markets,” she said, so she has helped Samoa develop small markets of its own by educating women and helping keep them in their communities.

Through Tafuna’i’s work, Samoan coconut oil is now an export in high demand, and a key ingredient in more than 30 products distributed by The Body Shop. Maggie Gyllenhaal then presented the second Vital Voice Award to filmmaker and activist Samar Minallah Khan, who has spent her life documenting cultural forms of violence against women in Pakistani communities, from honor killings to the use of dowries in marriages. The tradition of giving female family members as compensation in disputes, known as swara, was outlawed in 2004 after Khan launched a campaign against the practice. “It is time to strengthen alliances and build partnerships with men to challenge such inhuman customs and traditions,” she said. “Let us have all those men as partners in this journey who are brave enough to respect women as human beings. These are the ideas that this award will help in realizing.”



The Whitney to Honor Alex von Furstenberg

Monday, April 26th, 2010


Alex von Furstenberg accepts the 2010 American Art Award

Alex von Furstenberg accepts the 2010 American Art Award

The Whitney Museum will pay tribute Alex von Furstenberg and The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation for their “sustained commitment to the artistic and cultural heritage of the arts in America” at the Museum’s 19th annual gala dinner on May 6th.

The gala signifies the inaugural event at The Whitney’s future downtown site at Gansevoort and Washington Streets in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.  Alex von Furstenberg will be presented with the American Art Award, which will be accompanied by the unveiling of a large-scale collaborative commission from American artists Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker.  The first of three installations in an exhibition collectively titled “Whitney on Site: New Commissions Downtown,” Guyton/Kelley’s work can be viewed publically from the High Line from May 8th through June 23rd; subsequent six-week installations by Tauba Auerbach and Barbara Kruger will follow.


For more coverage of the May 6th event, please click on the links below:

And The Winner Is…

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation is proud to announce the winner of the first DVF Awards “People’s Voice” vote.  Katherine Chon, the President and Co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project, inspired thousands of voters through her work in the organization, which provides emergency shelter and comprehensive case management to victims of human trafficking.

Chon will be honored at the inaugural DVF Awards ceremony on March 13th alongside three international winners—Sadiqa Basiri Saleem of Afghanistan, Danielle Saint-Lot of Haiti, and Ingrid Betancourt of Columbia.  Each woman’s organization will receive $50,000 from The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation to encourage their work.

 For a look into the evening’s event, click on the links below: