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Red Cross Women Leaders Gather in Washington, D.C.
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Mary Havell
 
June 11, 2008

The Tiffany Circle of the American Red Cross is hosting its annual Women’s Leadership Summit June 10 – 11 in Washington, D.C.  The event convenes volunteers and donors who comprise a powerful leadership network of women who want to change lives, save lives and strengthen their communities through a focused investment of their time, talent and treasure. 

Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter presents Swiss Ambassador Urs Ziswiler with an American Red Cross metal.  Photo attributed to Jennifer Willis. Photo attributed to Jennifer Willis.
Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter presents Swiss Ambassador Urs Ziswiler with an American Red Cross metal. Photo attributed to Jennifer Willis. Photo attributed to Jennifer Willis.

The summit brings together approximately 300 women from 23 Red Cross chapters across the country to recognize their commitment and contributions to the noble mission of the Red Cross.  The women of the Tiffany Circle generously donate $10,000 each to annually support their local Red Cross chapters.  Their contributions enable the organization to respond to emergencies, whether they are individual disasters such as home fires or community-wide disasters. 

This year’s summit highlights the American Red Cross role in the international family of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies through its international programs and activities, particularly in the Middle East and its overseas services to the U.S. Armed Forces. 

On June 10, Tiffany Circle members were hosted by Swiss Ambassador Urs Ziswiler for dinner at the Swiss Embassy.  The International Red Cross Movement originated in Switzerland under the leadership of Henry Dunant. 

“From one man’s action and compassion has come a family of humanity,” said Ambassador Ziswiler. “We’ve come a long way from Henry Dunant and Clara Barton, and tonight we honor you ladies of the Tiffany Circle.”

Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Red Cross, thanked Ambassador Ziswiler for opening his beautiful home to the women of the Tiffany Circle.

Tiffany Circle members were greeted by alphorn players at the Swiss embassy.  Photo attributed to Jennifer Willis.
Tiffany Circle members were greeted by alphorn players at the Swiss embassy. Photo attributed to Jennifer Willis.

“It is an honor to look out at this powerful movement of women changing the world,” said McElveen-Hunter. “We started as a few and are growing.”

During a Tiffany Circle luncheon today, McElveen-Hunter spoke about the Red Cross’s international activities, including her trip to Madagascar to participate in a measles and malaria prevention campaign. McElveen-Hunter and David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services for the American Red Cross, briefed the audience on the Measles Initiative and malaria prevention program, which are designed to reduce measles and malaria mortality in Africa and other regions of the world. To date, more than 500 million children have been vaccinated through the Measles Initiative, which started in 2001. “The Measles Initiative has become a platform for other health-saving services, like Vitamin A, de-worming medicine and mosquito nets,” said Meltzer. “By mobilizing communities, we are able to go the ‘last mile’ and reach the most vulnerable children.” The initiative has helped reduce measles deaths by 68 percent globally and 91 percent in Africa.  Through integrated campaigns, the initiative has also supported the distribution of more than 31 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Africa and Asia. 

Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, Director of Middle East Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center, was presented with an honorary medal and told the mostly women audience, "It is incumbent upon all of us who live in the free world to insist that rights are universal and apply to all individuals." The Washington scholar, who was arrested in Tehran May 2007 and held in Iran’s Evin Prison for eight months before her ultimate release, was falsely accused of, "crimes against national security.  Esfandiari said, "If hadn't been for your intervention, I'd probably still be in detention."     

Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, Director of Middle East Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center, addresses members of the Tiffany Circle. Photo attributed to Mary Havell.
Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, Director of Middle East Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center, addresses members of the Tiffany Circle. Photo attributed to Mary Havell.

Through a partnership with the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, the women of the Tiffany Circle are impacting lives across the world.  On July 1, $300,000 will be donated to support vulnerable women and families infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Vietnam. This critical investment will be made in the name of all Tiffany Circle members and honors the role of women leaders in improving the human condition at home and around the world.

Tiffany Circle members will discuss future initiatives for the coming years prior to the close of the annual event, which will conclude with a dinner at the U.S. Department of State.  The dinner will honor current and former military spouses for their commitment to the United States and American citizens. 

For additional information about the Tiffany Circle, please visit www.redcross.org/more/tiffany.

 

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.



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