“We are all being guided to come together as one. There is so much chaos in the world right now,” Karan said, while accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual luncheon on Tuesday afternoon. “This is the one thing that is not about me. This is about we,” she continued. “We can change the world. Every last women and man sitting here can change the world. It’s time for us to all come together, to create communities, to create calm in the chaos.”
Karan was honored for her life’s work promoting global healthcare. The famed fashion designer launched the Urban Zen Foundation in 2007, an organization with education and culture initiatives that creates, connects and collaborates to raise awareness of well-being, preservation of cultures and empowering children.
Held at 583 Park Avenue in New York City and hosted by “Good Day New York” anchor Rosanna Scotto, the foundation hosts the annual event to raise money to support bringing Transcendental Meditation to vulnerable adults and children. The foundation’s CEO, Bob Roth — who has taught the practice of Transcendental Meditation to celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Hugh Jackman — gave opening remarks and spoke to the power of Transcendental Meditation (also referred to as “TM”) to help change the lives of survivors of assault and trauma, especially focusing on women, children and veterans.
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“A parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child,” Roth said, sharing stories of mothers who lost their children and found peace again through the practice. Roth also shared the news that the foundation is working with veterans’ organizations to make Transcendental Meditation a medical intervention on par with any medication.
Lisa Beatha, a U.S. army veteran and the director of veterans affairs at the City University of New York (CUNY), was honored with one of the Women of Vision awards for her work with over 3,400 student veterans who she ensures are aware of Transcendental Meditation to help with their post-deployment success.
“It is because of your support that we have access to this practice,” Beatha said during her acceptance speech, then sharing some of her personal experiences. “Thanks to TM, I’m here today because I had so many dark thoughts and it was difficult to stay…thank you for your philanthropy and your resources for our veterans. It’s life saving.”
Furness was awarded for her humanitarian work with abandoned children. The actress said she never set out to be an activist, but fell into her work when she and her husband, Hugh Jackman, wanted to adopt in their native Australia; she found the process too difficult, so they adopted in America.
“It was a knee jerk reaction to me that spoke of an injustice,” Furness said of her activism. “I know how many children would benefit from a loving home…when I travel the world and see what I see, I can’t cope that these kids don’t have connection…I am thrilled that through my little bit, I’m able to raise awareness of [Bob Roth’s] work, which is life changing.”
Parker was introduced by her children, Will and Ash Parker, who were given with surprise honors of their own — the Young Man of Vision and Young Woman of Vision awards. Will and Ash, who was adopted from Ethiopia, travel the world to help others with their actress mother, who has assisted with heart surgery in Rwanda and helps women and their children avoid prostitution in Ethiopia and Uganda.