U.N. gala brings bonhomie

Tutu, Variety honored at Global Leadership Awards

Current and former U.N. Secretaries-General Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan rubbed elbows with Variety, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other honorees at the U.N. Foundation’s annual Global Leadership Awards Dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan.

This is the same event where Ted Turner 15 years ago announced his historic $1 billion U.N. donation. At the Oct. 16 gala, he said it had been “by far the best investment I ever made, and I made some good ones.”

Brian Gott, who has spearheaded Variety’s philanthropic efforts for the past six years, accepted the prize in his last public appearance as Variety publisher. He promised the U.N. that Variety would “continue to be your partner in mobilizing this industry, to shine a spotlight on the issues that all of us need to solve together.”

Tutu, the anti-apartheid hero turned advocate for girls’ education, got the biggest laugh by pretending to reprimand the moderator: “I think we have to be careful. You said I was passionate about women.” He then jokingly tapped his watch vigorously as a reminder to her that the 9 p.m. presidential debate was looming.

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