Perched at the very top of the Hotel Bella Sky with views stretching from the strait of Oresund to the spires of Copenhagen, we hosted more than 100 guests – dignitaries from around the globe, leaders of development agencies and partner organizations, and our wonderful friends of ICRW.
We were delighted to have in attendance Mabel van Oranje, a 2015 Champions for Change honoree; former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard; the US Ambassador for Global Women’s Affairs Cathy Russell and the Australian Ambassador for Women & Girls; Baroness Mary Goudie and Ashley Judd, members of our Leadership Council; and, oh yes, UNAIDS ambassador Annie Lennox dropped by to say hello. It was a star-studded evening, so say our guests.
I felt Jill Sheffield’s remarks reflected enormous wisdom and passion that comes from more than four decades of work devoted to improving maternity care and reproductive health services for women. And in accepting her award, she spoke as the tireless visionary who launched the global movement that is Women Deliver. Melinda was amazing – speaking without a single note in front of her – and clearly enthralled the crowd with her personal story of becoming a ‘reluctant’ champion for women and girls. I was so jazzed that she used the Champions for Change event to reiterate the foundation’s commitment of US$80M to fill the gap in gender data – this was the big announcement she had made in her plenary address that morning.
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was eloquent and elegant in conferring the awards. This was the second time the Crown Princess has presided over a Champions for Change Awards ceremony for ICRW.
The kind words and praise for ICRW’s 40 years of research from every speaker was truly humbling and filled me with great pride.