International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Photos from last night's Freedom Award Dinner

Here are the first photos from last night's gala Freedom Award Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The annual event benefits the International Rescue Committee’s humanitarian relief and development work in more than 40 countries worldwide.  

Special guests included Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of the City of New York, David Burke, chef and restauranteur; Jencarlos Canela, singer, actor and IRC Voice; Anna Deavere Smith, actor and playwright; Eden Grinshpan, host of "Eden Eats" on the Cooking Channel; and Scott Pelley, managing editor, “CBS Evening News,” correspondent, “60 Minutes,” co-chair, IRC Board of Overseers.  

The evening honored John C. Whitehead, statesman, businessman, philanthropist and IRC legend.

Photos: Getty Images for IRC

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

Mayor  Bloomberg, who has been leading New York City's recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy,  delivered opening remarks. 

Jencarlos Canela perfoms onstage at the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

Jencarlos Canela performed acoustic versions of his songs "Amor Quedate" and "Start Living Your Life." Inspired by his father’s journey as a refugee from Cuba, Jencarlos volunteers with the IRC in Miami and is an IRC Voice.

Jencarlos Canela performs at the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

Between songs, Jencarlos spoke of how moved he was by a visit to Haiti, where he met earthquake survivors who were rebuilding their lives with support from the IRC.

Afghan refugee Sahar Adish speaks at the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

Sahar Adish and her family, facing threats from the Taliban, fled Afghanistan in 1998 and in 2002 were resettled in Charlottesville, Va. Sahar shared her plans for medical school and her experience working with volunteer doctors to set up an emergency department at a Kabul maternity hospital. 

Chef David Burke speaks at the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

David Burke saluted the IRC's New Roots program. In his speech, the award-winning chef revealed that he put Burmese refugee and new employee Ah Lun's soup on the menu at David Burke Kitchen in Manhattan. Ah Lun, who farms at the New Roots garden in the Bronx, hopes one day to open his own restaurant.   

Aggele Nogue attends the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

New Roots farmer Angele Nogue also shone in the spotlightlight last night. A video screened at the event featured her success introducing peanuts from her native Cameroon to the Bronx garden. Angele recently reunited with the children she hadn't seen in five years. 

George Rupp and John Whitehead with a portrait of Albert Einstein at the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

The evening honored IRC chairman emeritus John Whitehead (right) for his contributions to the cause of refugees and the success of the IRC.  IRC president George Rupp (left) presented Whitehead with a signed photograph of Albert Einstein in tribute — the renowned physicist and humanitarian played a major role in the IRC's founding in 1933.

Davide Burke, Eden Grishpan and Jencarlos Canela at the IRC's 2012 Freedom Award Dinner

Eden Grinshpan (center) with David Burke and Jencarlos Canela. The culinary adventurer and host of "Eden Eats" is also a New Roots spokesperson.

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