Forum 2015 Awards

Each year, InterAction acknowledges the contribution of individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the world's most poor and vulnerable people. Awards to be presented at Forum 2015 are as follows: 

Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award

Ruth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world. Ruth came to AJWS in 1998, after a 20-year career in public service in New York City which included a mayoral run.

A tireless activist and social change visionary, Ruth is known for her leadership of the movement to end the genocide in Darfur, and she is currently a leading voice for the rights and empowerment of women and LGBT people in the developing world. She helps mobilize faith-based communities throughout the U.S. to speak out on behalf of oppressed and marginalized people around the globe. Ruth has served on the Obama administration’s Task Force on Global Poverty and Development; she currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and co-Chairs the Sub-Working Group on Social Justice. Ruth Lectures widely on social and global justice issues, and The Huffington Post included her as one of the “10 most inspiring women religious leaders of 2012.”

The Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award honors outstanding and distinguished leaders in the community of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations. The award celebrates the leadership of an individual within this community whose career and vision has transcended his or her own organization by raising the influence and profile of the U.S. NGO sector as a whole. It celebrates the very best of who we are as a sector. 

Humanitarian Award

Since August 2014, George Jordu Woryonwon has worked with Global Communities (GC) through the OFDA funded Assisting Liberians through Education to Reduce Transmission (ALERT)/Ebola Response program to train and supervise burial teams across Liberia. Through his work, he has ensured safe and dignified burials throughout the country with incredible speed, effectiveness and safety. To date, zero burial team members supported by Mr. Woryonwon have contracted the virus and during the height of the crisis, teams were able to maintain a response rate of 90% and above.

It was through Mr. Woryonwon’s work with Liberia’s Traditional Council that GC was able to secure land for a National Cemetery. Since its inception in December 2014, GC trained burial teams have conducted over 700 safe and dignified burials at this cemetery, effectively ending emergency cremation in Monrovia.

InterAction's Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual or individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in support of NGOs and the people they serve in the developing world. Our community’s national staff and counterparts often surmount significant obstacles to carry out their work effectively in their own home countries or regions. InterAction seeks to honor these individuals for their bravery and commitment to the most vulnerable populations in their own communities.

The award recognizes individuals whose work reflects important leadership qualities (such as courage, initiative, creativity, grace under pressure, integrity, personal sacrifice) and who have made significant contributions in the developing world to any of the following areas: disaster relief, human development, refugee assistance, civil society, equitable economic development, health, environment, education, population, or public policy. 

Disability Inclusion Award

World Learning empowers a new generation of global citizens to build peace, prosperity, and inclusion through education, exchange, and development programs in more than 60 countries.  Its projects and values are rooted in the principle, “Nothing about us without us.”  The Disability Inclusion Award especially recognizes World Learning for its partnerships with civil society groups, governments, and international organizations to help people with disabilities play full roles in building inclusive societies. 

World Leaning identifies and pursues innovative programs to support people with disabilities; integrates disability rights into all its programs; serves as a thought-leader and public advocate for disability inclusion; and ensures its own commitment through reasonable accommodation, staff training, affirmative actions, time-bound goals, and civic outreach.  World Learning projects have helped advocates improve disability laws and practices in Pakistan and Mongolia, strengthened the Disabilities Commission in Burma, promoted special education programs in Lebanon, and expanded accessible schools in Ghana.

The Disability Inclusion Award honors member agencies that have worked toward greater disability inclusion in programs/management and have expanded leadership opportunities for people with disabilities. The award recognizes our own community’s innovative efforts to promote disability inclusion as a human rights issue.

Effective Assistance Photography Award

Partha Kar has had a passion for photography since his childhood. He finished college with many courses in photography from the Federation of Indian Photography in 1996. He was also a founding member of Picturesque, which he describes as a “photo lovers club.” Kar has worked as a freelance travelogue writer and photographer for Kolkata-based Bengali magazines as well as Kolkata-based English newspapers. He is an associate of the Federation of Indian Photography and an associate member of the Public Relations Society of India, Kolkata Chapter. Through his work, Kar has won several national and international honors, including the Best Critic Award from The Times Journal of Photography and the National Award by the Indian Ministry of Tourism.

InterAction’s photography contest honors a photographer whose provocative photos focus on the incredible humanitarian and development work done in the field. The photographer's work illustrates innovative, effective and inspiring efforts in international relief and development.

Security Advisory Group Distinguished Achievement Award

Yasmine Yahia Abu-Munaser is originally a graduate in languages from Sana’a university. After completing her studies Yasmine started work in the Oil and Gas industry; where she remained for 10 years. Yasmine joined IMC in 2013 as the Assistant in the Security department. During the last two years her aptitude for the work has resulted in consecutive promotions to the role of National Security Manager that she currently holds today.  Yasmine lives with her two and a half year old daughter in Sana’a, who takes up most of her free time away from work. Her other interests include music and reading.

The InterAction Security Advisory Group Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes exceptional performance by NGO security professionals, particularly those who significantly contribute to NGOs' abilities to protect their personnel, assets, information, or operations overseas.