Action Against Hunger 2016 Gala Honors Weight Watchers International, with Acceptance by Oprah Winfrey, and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of World Food Programme
On October 24, 2016, Action Against Hunger hosted its 17th Annual Gala Against Hunger at 583 Park Avenue in New York City honoring Weight Watchers International, with an acceptance by Oprah Winfrey, and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, the World Food Programme.
The event benefitted Action Against Hunger’s lifesaving, international hunger relief programs. Leading event sponsors included luxury jeweler Chopard and Bavarian bath, body and skincare brand Kneipp. The 2016 Gala Co-Chairs were Carmen Debbane and Sandra Tamer. Presenters included Action Against Hunger’s Chairman of the Board Raymond Debbane and CEO Andrea Tamburini, along with special performances by the National Dance Institute.
The evening’s Corporate Honoree was Weight Watchers International, the world’s leading commercial provider of weight management services. Weight Watchers shares Action Against Hunger’s commitment to good nutrition, health and well-being. In 2008, Weight Watchers partnered with Action Against Hunger to launch the Lose for Good campaign to fight global hunger and chronic malnutrition, inviting members to lose weight to benefit Action Against Hunger’s mission. Over the last eight years, Weight Watchers has generated over $1.9 million in life saving funds for Action Against Hunger. A steadfast partner in the fight against deadly hunger, Weight Watchers continues to explore unique opportunities to have an even greater impact on global nutrition and healthy living.
Oprah Winfrey accepted the Action Against Hunger Corporate Honoree Award on behalf of Weight Watchers International, where she sits on the company’s Board of Directors. As a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress, Oprah has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world. Her accomplishments have established her as one of the most respected and admired figures today.
Ms. Winfrey said in her speech, “Everyone just wants the chance to live good and decent lives. Everyone wants to be seen and heard. You cannot be seen and heard until you are first fed -- physical feeding first, then spiritual and emotional feeding. I believe your legacy is every life you have touched. Thank you, Action Against Hunger, for showing the power of legacy for all of us. There is a way in our lifetime to end hunger -- that is what matters.”
Action Against Hunger presented its Humanitarian Award to Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization with approximately 14,000 staff serving over 80 million people in 80 countries across the world. As the leader of the World Food Programme, Ms. Cousin guides the organization in meeting urgent food needs while championing longer-term solutions to food insecurity and hunger. She is a leading advocate for improving the lives of hungry people worldwide, and travels extensively to elevate solutions for food insecurity and chronic malnutrition. Ms. Cousin brings more than 25 years of national and international non-profit, government, and corporate leadership experience focusing on hunger, food, and resilience strategies.
Ms. Cousin said, “WFP has 200 partners around the world. One of the best of those partners is Action Against Hunger. In the deep field, you're right there with us, working together. Working to make sure people in need are not going to bed hungry. Yes, we can achieve zero hunger. But we need to step it up. It is simply about us getting together and getting it done. As Nelson Mandela said, 'It always seems impossible until it is done.'"