Global Connections for Women Foundation celebrates 2015 International Women’s Day with Awards Gala at Library of Congress in Washington DC.

New York, March 12, 2015  – The Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W), the international non-profit organization dedicated to connecting, educating and empowering women and young girls around the globe, hosted the 2015 GC4W International Women’s Day Awards & Benefit Gala on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Guest Hosts - Farai Gundan and Shannon LaNier with Lilian O. AjayiSee all photo highlights

The packed affair under the theme of “Connecting for Women Empowerment” paid homage to a litany of women leaders from diverse backgrounds and was hosted by Shannon Lanier TV Host at Arise Entertainment 360 along with Farai Gundan of Forbes. Proceeds from the gala will be used for the GC4W Community Development & Empowerment Fund that supports initiatives such as the Karamajiji New School Development Project for disabled girls and GC4W Women Empowerment Workshops.

Former President of Malawi, H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda

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In just the 2nd year of presenting the GC4W International Women’s Day Awards Gala, GC4W was honored to have the keynote address delivered by Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi, Founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation and one of the 1st Female heads of state in Africa.

After being introduced by Farai Gundan, Forbes Contributor and welcomed to the stage by the Ambassador from Nigeria to the US, H. E. Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye who also received the Statesman of the Year award. Lilian O. Ajayi,  Founder and Executive Director of Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W), Chief Temitope Ajayi (Mama Diaspora) – Honorable Chair of GC4W, and the GC4W Foundation presented the highest award category, “GC4W Honorary Global Women Champion Award” to the Former President of Malawi, H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda.

Lilian Ajayi Former President Dr Joyce Banda

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Dr. Banda expounded on the need for young people to take up the mantle of leadership, commenting that “leadership is about the young, they are leaders of today and not tomorrow.”  Her powerful and inspiring message not only uplifted all those in attendance but adds to the global chorus of voices demanding positive change in the area of women empowerment.

H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda, Lilian Ajayi and Denise Mobolaji Ajayi-Williams, and Chief Temitope Ajayi

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In addition to her keynote address, Dr. Banda was also a proud recipient the GC4W Honorary Global Women Champion award.  She was joined by an amazing group of award-winning women who were honored in categories such as Community Development & Advocacy, Business & Entrepreneurship, Civic & Political Activism and Global Health & Humanity.  New for 2015, GC4W also honored leading companies and distinguished men who are investing in women empowerment and promoting gender equality with categories including Corporate Contributions & Leadership as well as Man of the Year. Visit the Global Women Champions page for the 2015 official list of honorees.  

4EY The Future performance at GC4W Awards

The evening also highlighted some of the best new talents and performances by 4EY The Future and the most sought after DJ UniverseWith guests and honorees alike exhibiting enthusiastic support for GC4W, its roster of programs and the Awards Gala series that has now visited New York and Washington DC, plans are already in place for Los Angeles, CA to serve as the host city for the 2016 GC4W International Women’s Day Awards Gala.

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GC4W 2015 Awards

The room was filled with last year’s Global Women Champions including Denise Ajayi-Williams, Author of the “Akiti the Hunter” and Chief Temitope Ajayi, Distinguished Delegate of the 2014 National Conference in Abuja, Nigeria and Honorable Chair of GC4W.  This year’s Global Women Champions includes Janell Hazelwood (Black Enterprise and Community Leader), Wendy Diamond (Women’s Entrepreneurship Day), Michelle Robson (Founder of EmpowHer), Azita Ardakani (CEO of Love Social), Anastatia Dellacio (UN Foundation and Owner of Dolci Gelati), Emily Bennington (Founder of AWAKE Exec and ForbesWoman Contributor), Dr. Yewande Adeshina (Special Advisor Nigeria’s Ministry of Health).

GC4W 2015 Awards

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Leadership in Civic & Political Activism: Dr. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, California’s 13th District, Senator Daisy Danjuma Executive Vice Chairman South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), Chief (Mrs.) Nkechi Okemini President National of Nigerian National Council of Women’s Society (NCWS), Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi Former – Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Chief (Mrs.) Felicia Sani National President of Market Women Association of Nigeria, Chief (Mrs.) Remi Adiukwu-Bakare Former Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce for Commerce and Erelu Olusola Obada – Former Minister of State for Defense. 

Chief Temitope Ajayi and Janell Hazelwood

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Global Women Champion Awards for “Leadership in Business & Entrepreneurship” was presented by Sky Fernandes, Managing Director Simon Venture Group – award recipients include Wendy Diamond “Woman of the Year,” Melinda Emerson Founder of SmallBiz Lady, Azita Ardakani Founder of Love Social, Lilach Bullock Co-Founder of Comms Axais, S. Lynn Cooper CEO of Socially Ahead, Yinka Fayomi Chief-Editor of FIN Financial Magazine and Maimuna Yaya Abubakar Founder and Editorial Director Tozali. Global Women Champion Award for “Leadership in Community Development & Youth Advocacy” presented to Vivian Onano, Youth Advisor UN Women by Denise Mobolaji Ajayi-Williams Creative Director of

Vivian Onana, GC4W 2015 Global Women Champion
Special Guest presenter – Robert Onah, CEO of Health Startup presented the Global Women Champions for “Leadership in Global Health & Humanity” awards to Dr. Yewande Adeshina – Special Advisor Nigeria Ministry of Health, Michelle King Robson – Founder of and Ana C. Rold – Editor-in-Chief Diplomatic Courier Magazine. 

Dr. Yewinde Adeshina, GC4W 2015 Global Women Champion

Tahira Francis and Kandia Johnson presented the Global Women Champions for “Leadership in Community Development & Advocacy” to  Sonia Allenye – Press Secretary at NY Finance Dept.Anastasia Dellaccio – Director of Special Projects at United Nations Foundations, Emily Bennington – Founder of AWAKE Exec, Tiffany Aliche – TheBudgetnista, Janell Hazelwood – Digital Media at Black Enterprise, Esther Ejim Community Leader.

Janell Hazelwood

Kevin Frank, GC4W Advisory Board Chair presented the “Corporate Contributions and Leadership Awards” to Intel Corporation – received by Suzanne Fallender (Director of Global Girls & Women Initiative at Intel) and Simon Venture Group – received by J. Sky Fernandes (Managing Director of Simon Venture Group). See all photo highlights

Sky Fernandes, Simon Venture Group

Former President of Malawi, H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda and Chief Temitope Ajayi (Mama Diaspora) presented the “Men of the Year” awards to H.R.H. Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, H. E. Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, Professor David Oke, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Senator Adolphous Wabara, Former Nigeria Senate President and Justice Hussein Mukhtar. Lilian O. Ajayi presents Alvin Grant with the “GC4W Champion of the Year” Award. 

Dr. David Oke, Man of the Year

The night concluded with a special closing remarks from the Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu, “The World has changed since 1995 when the Beijing Declaration and Program of Action was adopted. Many progresses have been made in empowering women. Maternal mortality percentages are dropping; more girls enroll in schools and complete their education, more women are involved in decisions – especially political one, such as the brilliant example of H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda, and more women are working….

H.E. Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu, Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN

As part of the GC4W ongoing calendar of events and building on the momentum emanating from the Awards Gala at the Library of Congress, GC4W will continue its noble march toward enriching the lives of 100,000 women and young girls by hosting a charity fundraiser in April at the Millennium Hotel in New York City.

Tiffany Ajayi interviews H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi at the GC4W Awards & Benefit Gala. 

H.E. Dr Joyce Banda and Tiffany Ajayi

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Lilian Ajayi and Wendy Diamond _ getty Images

The 2015 GC4W International Women’s Day Awards Gala witnessed the resounding clamor of applause for a star-studded list of award winners and guests who were willing to share of themselves and their inspiring stories as well as a strong roster of sponsors and media partners which included the United Nations Foundation, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, Jet Blue Airways, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Farmers Insurance, Diplomatic Courier, Bobble Bottles, Dr. Miracles,, Applause Africa, and MUIPR among others. The event was also covered by Getty Images, Arise Entertainment 360 TVBlack Enterprise and the National Press Club. 

With a goal to enrich the lives of 100,000 thousand women and girls, the Global Connections for Women Foundation has quickly grown into one of the leading international non-profits of the millennium in the areas of gender equality and women empowerment. Please visit the Photo highlights to learn more about the celebration.