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Save the Date November 4, 2015
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Black Tie International:
The International Rescue Committee Annual Freedom Award  Dinner




         Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless, Strive Masiyiwa to be honored with the IRCís Freedom Award

         Corporate Leader Award goes to MasterCard

         John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award goes to long time IRC board member and supporter, Josh Weston

         Feature Performances by Nico & Vinz and Chris Botti


 The International Rescue Committee
 will host its annual Freedom Award Dinner to support the organizationís lifesaving humanitarian aid work around the world on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. The event, which will take place at the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, will honor Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless, Strive Masiyiwa with the Freedom Award, President and CEO of MasterCard, Ajay Banga with the Corporate Leader Award and Josh Weston will receive the John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award.


The evening will feature special performances by international music sensation Nico & Vinz and American trumpeter and composer Chris Botti. Appearances include IRC President and CEO David Miliband and resettled refugees Omar Almashhadani and Ali Almashhadani. Other guests in attendance will include The Cooking Channelís Eden Grinshpan as well as celebrity supporters Sir Patrick Stewart, Brad Raider, Ranjana & Naeem Khan and Bibhu Mohapatra.


The Freedom Award has been presented to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions in support of refugees, and who have championed the cause of liberty, individual freedom and dignity. Mr. Masiyiwa is the maverick founder, chairman, and CEO of Econet Wireless Group, a diversified international telecommunications group based in South Africa. He has won numerous accolades and gained international recognition for his business expertise and philanthropy, and is considered one of Africaís most generous humanitarians. Masiyiwa has used his wealth to provide scholarships to over 100,000 young Africans over the past 20 years through his family foundation. He supports over 40,000 orphans with educational initiatives, as well as sponsoring students at universities in America, the United Kingdom, and China. Masiyiwa also funds initiatives in public health and agriculture across the African continent. In 2014 CNNís Fortune Magazine named Masiyiwa one of the 50 most influential business leaders in the world.


The Corporate Leader Award is presented to a company at the leading edge of innovation that uses their business model and expertise to advance social good, in addition to elevating the IRCís ability to help those touched by disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.


For the last four years, under Mr. Bangaís visionary leadership, MasterCard has been an invaluable partner in the IRCís work, from providing emergency assistance in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic, to supporting victims of the East African drought in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, to helping those impacted by the great earthquake of 2011 in Japan. MasterCard has also invested in the IRC to help build its internal capacity across a variety of areas, most recently in expediting cash transfer and digital payments programming capabilities in many countries where immediate access to funds saves lives and enables livelihoods to continue. IRC is also using MasterCard Aid electronic voucher technology to improve efficiency and beneficiary choice when delivering emergency assistance.


The John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award was created in recognition of Mr. Whiteheadís half-century of transformational leadership of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The award will be presented annually at the IRCís Freedom Award Dinner to individuals who embody Mr. Whiteheadís spirit and passion for humanitarian causes and who have made significant contributions to saving and improving lives around the world. Established in February 2015, the award memorializes Mr. Whiteheadís lifelong commitment to humanity through selfless, courageous, creative, and compassionate acts.  Mr. Weston is Honorary Chairman of the Board and the former Chief Executive Officer of Automatic Data Processing, one of the largest companies in the world dedicated to providing computerized transaction processing and information services. He serves on the Boards of the NJ Performing Arts Center, Liberty Science Center, and the IRC

The Co-Chairs for this yearís Freedom Award Dinner are Katherine Farley & Jerry I. Speyer, Ken & Vickie French, Ruth & David Levine, Gillian M. Shepherd & Eduardo G. Mestre, Catherine & Tracy Wolstencroft.  Vice-Chairs are Marie & Joseph Field, Evan G. Greenber, Ace Group, Maurice R. Greenberg, Starr International Foundation/Starr Foundation, Maureen White and Steven Rattner.



The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 26 U.S. cities. Learn more at and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.


For more information about the IRC please go to


Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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