Ai Weiwei to receive award from Refugees International

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei. Lisson Gallery image

WASHINGTON – Refugees International (RI) will honor artist and humanitarian Ai Weiwei at its 16th Annual New York Circle Luncheon on Tuesday, October 23, with their 2018 Exceptional Service Award. Ai is being recognized for his continuous work and advocacy on behalf of refugees.

Ai Weiwei’s art often draws attention to the plight of vulnerable communities impacted by persecution and conflict. His exhibition, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” sheds light on the world’s refugee crisis, and his documentary Human Flow illustrates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. His new book Humanity includes excerpts from articles and interviews that highlight the resilience of refugees and the human spirit.

“Mr. Ai’s commitment to promoting democracy, free expression, and human rights—at personal risk and sacrifice—is inspiring,” said Refugees International President Eric Schwartz. “His unwavering commitment to confront injustice and his use of art in that noble pursuit is exemplary, and we are honored to present him with this award.”

At this year’s luncheon, Alexandra Munroe, senior curator and senior advisor at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, will introduce Ai Weiwei in conversation with award-winning journalist and editor of the New Yorker, David Remnick. The in-depth conversation will focus on Ai Weiwei’s work related to human rights and humanitarian principles.

Actor and RI board member Thomas Sadoski and actress and animal rights activist Amanda Seyfried will serve as co-chairs of the event. RI board member and Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Maureen White, and Chairman and CEO of Willett Advisors LLC, Steven Rattner will also serve as co-chairs.

Refugees International’s New York Circle is an awards ceremony and celebration honoring individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment to humanitarian action. The highlight of the event is the presentation of the RI’s Exceptional Service Award to an individual who has committed his or her life’s work to tackling today’s humanitarian challenges.

Previous honorees include Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry, and Kerry Kennedy.

Attendees of the luncheon include policymakers, diplomats, representatives of corporations, foundations, and nongovernmental organizations, and individuals whose generous support enables RI to serve as a powerful voice for lifesaving action.

The New York Circle takes place at a critical time as more than 68.5 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict, and persecution.

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