Monday, November 23, 2009

Co-Hosting the LACY Awards

Hon. Patrick E. Tondreau won the individual award.

I co-hosted the LACY (Legal Advocates for Children and Youth) awards with Don Bleu, local 101.3 FM anchor. Don was fantastic to work with! He has been on the air and doing events for 30 years.

Don Bleu

LACY, founded in 1990 by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, works to advance the legal rights of minors, empowering them to lead healthy and productive lives. The LACY awards celebrate the of the work done by many in the community to address the problems of youth who have no voice.

Hon. Patrick E. Tondreau won the individual award for his work in the juvenile court system. He has the unique ability to see the best in youth and help them to get on the “right” path. He told me that he loves his job so much it doesn’t feel like work!

I left the luncheon very inspired by LACY and their work in our community. I believe when people are successful, they have a duty to give back, volunteer, do what they can to build stronger communities.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Amazing Experiece at Festival of Thinkers!

I was part of the panel "Future Role Models, Adventure in Adversity." The Festival of Thinkers has been an amazing experience!

I have been able to listen to Nobel Laureates and world “thinkers” discuss current issues such as the economic crisis, world health, and globalization. After each session, we broke into roundtable discussions to connect on the issues.

At my table, there were students and “thinkers” from Lebanon, Mexico, Latvia, UK, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. Very different worlds, but we were able to connect and get to a common view on the relevant issues. If only governments could converse like this!!!

After our “panel,” we were summoned by Sheikh Nahyan to come to his palace for dinner. Ready, set, go! When you get asked to join the Sheikh, you drop everything.

I actually thought it was really cool to get his invitation as he has done so much good in the UAE for education, namely educating women in the region, so I am a big fan of his. When we arrived at the Palace, we had no idea what was going to happen. We entered a huge rectangular room with chandeliers, and the finest of everything. There was seating, sort of like couches all around the rectangular space.

After mingling with my fellow panelists, Donna, Dan, Kareem and Michelle, other guests began to arrive. We had no idea why they were there and actually we didn’t really know why we were there — other than to show a great sign of mutual respect for Sheikh Nahyan.

While at the palace, one of my new friends, and co-panelists, Dr. Rodrigo from Chile, said “hey someone wants to meet you.” I followed him across the room and met a man who look almost exactly like Fidel Castro (whom I met at the Pan Am Games in 1991).

Fidel Castro Jr. introduced himself to me and said he really enjoyed our panel today. We chatted for a while and then suddenly all 80 guests quickly lined the room as if, well, as if Sheikh Nahyan were about to enter the room.

I felt like I was in the middle of a movie scene! Sheikh Nahyan greeted each of us with a hand shake. We then sat and had coffee, and a smoke-filled lantern came by and waved incense in our faces. I have a great video on the way of the night — absolutely fascinating!!! I am so grateful for this opportunity.....

More From the Festival of Thinkers

The third Festival of Thinkers included 15 Nobel Laureates and scientists and nearly 110 world thinkers from 40 countries. Here are a few photos from our panel discussion.

Dr. Rodrigo Jordán, me, Michele Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Donna de Varona during our panel discussion

Dr. Rodrigo Jordán, me, Michele Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Donna de Varona, and Tony Woodcock

Me, Dr. Fidel Castro Díaz–Balart, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dan Clark, Michele Smith

With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA legend

With Dr. Fidel Castro Díaz–Balart, Scientific Advisor to the President of the State Council Republic of Cuba

Ceremonial Arabic coffee with Sheikh Nahyan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Couple Photos from Day 1

I wanted to post a couple of quick photos (I didn't have a camera cord handy earlier). Look for more updates soon!

Cherie Blair, Founder Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Michele Smith, Olympic Gold Medalist United States National Softball Team.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 1 in Abu Dhabi at Festival of Thinkers

Day one was awesome! Today was the opening ceremony at the Emirates Palace as well as the start of the roundtable discussions at the Abu Dhabi Women’s College, concluding with a huge gala dinner.

The production was amazing — including one of the most incredible fireworks displays (out over the gulf) I have ever seen!

I was very impressed with Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Prize Winner for Peace, from Iran. She spoke about the importance of educating Muslim women and the importance of women in the Muslim world. I was surprised at how freely and confidently she spoke about women’s rights in the region.

Our topics of discussion today were the current economic crisis and sustainability in the world’s resources. I am part of a panel tomorrow entitled, “Future Role Models, Adventures in Adversity.” Time to sleep — I hope, as jet lag is no fun!

I also wanted to include this short video of my friends from the Abu Dhabi Women’s College. I was shocked on my trip to the region last March that a number of the girls play basketball!

I was so impressed as I didn’t realize they were “able” to play based on the cultural views of women. What’s great to see is that things are changing here and there are many more opportunities for women, most of which we Americans totally take for granted. I have a wonderful bond with the “team.” I love their spirit!

Here's a list of my blog posts from this trip!