InterAction Community Honors Leaders

Winners to be recognized at InterAction's April Forum for outstanding leadership in efforts to empower and assist poor and vulnerable communities across the globe
Release Date: 
Apr 14, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, InterAction formally announced the list of individuals and groups to be honored at InterAction's April Forum for outstanding leadership in the efforts to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities.

This year's Forum award recipients have made significant contributions to respective efforts to help end global hunger, protect civilians in the Syrian civil war, safeguard relief workers in Sierra Leone, advocate for the rights of older and disabled persons and build continued support in Congress for a robust U.S. foreign policy. Honorees this year include:

  • David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World -- Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), senior U.S. senator, South Carolina -- InterAction Congressional Leadership Award

  • Davidson Jonah (Sierra Leone), global field operations director for ChildFund International -- InterAction Security Advisory Group Distinguished Achievement Award

  • Raed Saleh (Syria), head of Syria Civil  Defense -- InterAction Humanitarian Award

  • HelpAge USA -- InterAction Disability Inclusion Award

  • Abhijit Dey (India), photographer -- InterAction Effective Assistance Photography Award

All awards will be presented during InterAction’s annual Forum (April 18-20) at the Washington Marriott, Wardman Park (Note: Additional information on each honoree is included below).

"Each year, InterAction acknowledges the contribution of individuals and organizations to help build a more sustainable world where all people live in freedom, prosperity, dignity and peace," said InterAction President Lindsay Coates.

"Through their advocacy, art, leadership, vigilance and action, our honorees have touched thousands of people living in poverty or crisis around the world," Coates added. "They exemplify the values of persistence, determination and hope that our community shares. And InterAction is deeply appreciative for their respective efforts and successes in improving the lives of people in poor, underserved or conflict-torn regions."

Meet InterAction's 2016 Forum Award Winners

  • David Beckmann -- 2016 Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award Winner. Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry and poor people and a World Food Prize laureate. He has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

More About the Award: InterAction's Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award honors outstanding and distinguished leaders in the community of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) -- 2016 Congressional Leadership Award Winner. Graham was first elected to the United States Senate in 2002 and re-elected in 2008 and 2014. During his tenure, Graham has earned a reputation as a conservative problem-solver and one of the strongest proponents of a robust national defense.

More About the Award: InterAction's Congressional Leadership Award honors a member of Congress who has made significant contributions as a leader and advocates for U.S. foreign aid, humanitarian assistance and/or other international, poverty-focused areas in which InterAction’s members work.

  • Davidson Jonah -- 2016 Security Advisory Group Distinguished Achievement Award Winner.  Jonah first joined ChildFund International in his home country of Sierra Leone in 1985, and has worked in places like Chad, Guinea, Senegal and Indonesia. Over the past 30 years he has dedicated his career to ensuring humanitarian relief efforts around the globe are undertaken in a safe and secure environment.

More About the Award: InterAction's 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.

  • Raed Saleh -- 2016 InterAction Humanitarian Award. Saleh leads more than 2,800 intrepid search-and-rescue volunteers as head of Syria Civil Defense. Known as "The White Helmets," these unarmed and neutral civilians have saved more than 40,000 lives in Syria.

More About the Award: 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.

  • HelpAge USA -- 2016 Disability Inclusion Award Winner. HelpAge USA assists older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, to lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. HelpAge is being honored for its work in Nepal to establish a working group on older persons as well as its leadership in a taskforce in Pakistan on older persons and people with disabilities.

More About the Award: InterAction's 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.

  • Abhijit Dey -- 2016 InterAction Effective Assistance Photography Award. Since studying at the Photographic Association of Dum Dum in Calcutta, India, Dey has received many honorable distinctions in international photography and has served as judge in national and international contests around the globe.

More About the Award: InterAction's Effective Assistance Photography Award honors a photographer whose provocative photos focus on the incredible humanitarian and development work done in the field.


Note to the Editor: To schedule interviews with individual award winners, please contact the following:

  • For David Beckmann, Bread for the World: Chris Ford, 202.688.1077, cford@bread.org

  • For Davidson Jonah, ChildFund International: Jonathan Orr, 804.756.2700 ext. 2346, jorr@childfund.org

For more information about the 2016 InterAction Forum Award recipients, visit: www.interaction.org/forum-2016-awards.