Human Rights First Award Dinner
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 6 P.M.
Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, New York City.
2016 Human Rights First Award Dinner Co-Chairs:
Tom and Andi Bernstein
Daniel and Alisa Doctoroff
Matthew S. Dontzin and Elissa Doyle
Liz and Michael Rozen
William D. Zabel and Deborah Miller Zabel
Human Rights First Award Honorees:
Khaleel Aldakhi and Ameena Saeed Hasan
Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment:
Eye in the Sky, Gavin Hood, Director
Marvin Frankel Award:
Blank Rome LLP (DC)
Latham & Watkins LLP (Houston)
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (NY)
Human Rights First AwardKhaleel Aldakhi and Ameena Saeed Hasan
Two years ago, the terrorist group ISIS launched a genocidal campaign against the Yazidi people and other minorities in northern Iraq. As part of its brutal onslaught, ISIS abducts Yazidi women and girls and subjects them to rape and sexual slavery.
Khaleel Aldakhi and Ameena Saeed Hasan—a married couple living near the Iraq-Syria border—saw the horror and knew they had to help, so they set up a rescue network. They receive furtive calls from enslaved women and make the perilous journey to rescue them. They help survivors recover from trauma and press for international help for the Yazidi people. Khaleel, a lawyer, and Ameena, a former member of parliament, risk their lives to save these women and girls—a project they have made their life’s work.
Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in EntertainmentEye in the Sky, Directed by Gavin Hood
American popular culture has the power to move and educate millions of people—here at home and around the world. Each year the Sidney Lumet Award honors a work of popular culture that raises awareness about human rights and provokes popular discussion about some of the most pressing political and social issues of our time.
This year we honor the film Eye in the Sky for its powerful portrayal of the ethical dilemmas posed by drone warfare, including how political and military leaders assess “collateral damage”—a term for which the film provides much-needed humanity. Eye in the Sky raises essential questions about the use of drones for targeted killing, prompting even-handed reflection and public debate about how technological advances change the way we think about the use of force in a perpetual war.
Marvin Frankel AwardHonoring Outstanding Dedication to Pro Bono Service
The Marvin Frankel Award was established in 2002 to honor the memory of our longtime chairman and to recognize law firms that exemplify Judge Frankel’s extraordinary dedication to human rights and commitment to pro bono service.
This year’s honorees have done outstanding work on behalf of refugees, helping to set the bar for others to follow: Blank Rome LLP (Washington, D.C.), Latham & Watkins LLP (Houston), and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (New York City).
Antisemitism is surging across Europe. Stoked by ascendant neo-fascist parties and violent extremists trying to lay claim to Islam, mounting hatred has led to an increase in antisemitic attacks and worries that the continent is becoming unsafe for Jews. We know from history that when antisemitism goes unchecked it leads to attacks on other vulnerable minorities and eventually to societal breakdown.
In 2015, we honored three young Europeans from diverse faith backgrounds who are challenging this scourge in their own communities. Their courageous and imaginative advocacy is inspiring solidarity and action to build a better future. Like us, they know that antisemitism is a threat not only to Jews, but to all who value democracy and human dignity.
2015 Sidney Lumet Award
Popular culture—television, movies, video games, music and other forms—has the power not only to entertain, but also to educate and inspire. It often confronts the most difficult political and social questions of the day. Human Rights First challenges the entertainment industry to recognize this power and tackle human rights issues with the accuracy and complexity they demand.
Sidney Lumet (1924-2011), renowned for the “social realism” in his best work, was an American director, producer and screenwriter with over 50 films to his credit. Film critic Roger Ebert described him as “one of the finest craftsmen and warmest humanitarians among all film directors.” In his memory, in 2011 we launched the Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment designed to honor those who shine a light on human rights problems and advance understanding in popular culture.