Partisanship was tossed aside Thursday night at the 2009 Global Leadership Awards, held at the Kennedy Center, and honoring women leaders including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was there to accept her award.
The ceremony was put on by Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international organization promoting women in leadership, and saw such notables on stage as Ben Affleck, Sally Fields, Maria Bello, Candice Bergen, Diane von Furstenberg, Nicholas Kristof and Maggie Grace.
Clinton was there to accept the organization’s “Global Trailblazer” award for “her passionate commitment to promoting women’s rights and securing justice for all people around the world.” The award was presented to her by a former political opponent during Clinton’s time in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.).
“Vital Voices is all about uniting women and working together for positive change,” said the Hutchinson. “[Hillary Clinton] has reached out to bring people around this common cause and has used her powerful voice to raise the voices of all women. … As presidential candidate last year, she made 18 million cracks in the ceiling and inspired women all over the world. As secretary of State, she is putting women’s rights at the top of her agenda.”
“I want to thank Kay for being such a wonderful colleague and friend,” said Clinton in return. “I will do what I can to champion these issues and to use my own voice in support of women who raise their voices.” She added that governments and leaders “realize that no nation can be successful if it invests only in and listens only to one half of the population.”
Despite the night’s star power—and although additional awards were presented to women leaders from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Congo—it in every way belonged to Clinton, beginning with a touching video tribute and capped with a standing ovation that lasted nearly two minutes when she appeared on stage. Even heartthrob Affleck failed to garner half as much applause.
Affleck, did, however get a big round of applause when he said, “As along as violence against women—sexual or otherwise—remains strictly and exclusvely a ‘women’s issue’ it will always be an issue. We men must own this and we must recognize that it is vital to our own survival and we must help our brothers see it as such.”
Those in attendance included Zain Verjee, Pierre Vimont, Nina Totenberg, Don and Rhoda Glickman, Juleanna Glover, Dal Magna, Wolf Blitzer, Betsy Fischer, Andrea Mitchell, Tammy Haddad, Val Dem, Sidney Blumental, Claire Shipman, Charlie Rose and Dina Powell.