The Diwali Foundation USA Dec. 11 honored six individuals with its 2017 “Power of One” awards in a ceremony held at the United Nations’ Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York.
The awards ceremony — dubbed the “Oscars of Diplomacy” by the foundation — was co-organized by the foundation as well as the countries of India, Georgia and Belarus.
"Having Diwali event held already second year in a row is hopefully becoming a regular tradition here in the United Nations,” Belarus Ambassador Valentin Rybakov said. “Being a symbol of charity, kindness and peace, Diwali is in lockstep with the goals and ideals of the United Nations.”
Rybakov added that, after a very successful launch of the Diwali stamp in 2016, this is now transformed into the ‘Power of One’ awards acknowledging the role a person can play in the international community.
Receiving the honor were Ambassadors Maged Abdelaziz, Ion Botnaru, Lakshmi Puri, Matthew Rycroft, Nawaf Salam and Yuriy Sergeyev.
“The Power of One Award provides us an opportunity to honor those that have successfully brought about change,” said Indian Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin. “Each one of them has brought fresh thinking to their work environment. … They have all been sources of inspiration for all of us. We congratulate each of them.”
Diwali Foundation USA’s Indian American chair Ranju Batra at the event reiterated the accomplishment of getting a Diwali stamp issued by the United States Postal Service after years of effort before lauding the six ambassadors receiving the Power of One awards.
“We are privileged to celebrate and recognize the unique contributions of our honorees,” Batra said. “This slate of honorees has set the bar quite high for all future honorees. Whatever the UN Charter dreams of, the Diwali Foundation's Power of One honorees have helped to make it a reality.”
The event was also sponsored by more than a dozen countries including the U.S., U.K., Sri Lanka, Spain and France, among others, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency of New York.