New York, May 21, 2014 – The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. today announced that the Junior League of Mexico City’s Samira Modad is the recipient of the 2014 Mary Harriman Award for Community Leadership, The Junior League’s most prestigious award made to an individual League member, for her contributions over three decades to public health and education initiatives. The award was made at AJLI’s 92nd Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO on May 16th.
The Mary Harriman Award is given to Junior League members whose leadership exemplifies the 113-year-old organization’s mission, vision and values. Past winners include former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Martha Rivers Ingram, chairman of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trustees and a noted philanthropist and patron of the arts; Karen Cullen Luke, lifelong civic leader in Oklahoma City and vice chair of the committee that built The Oklahoma National Memorial & Museum; and last year’s winner, Florence Shapiro, a long-time member of the Texas Senate and member of the Junior League of Collin County.
“Samira Modad’s “inexhaustible spirit and an unrelenting drive to help those around her through direct service and advocacy makes her an ideal recipient of the 2014 Mary Harriman Award. Looking at her remarkable 30-year career as an advocate for health as well as education, Sami has embodied our founder’s vision in all aspects of her life—personal, professional and civic,” said AJLI President Toni Freeman. “Sami empowers her collaborators by organizing, delegating and mentoring. Over the years she has tended to the health of peasants and indigents, families in extreme poverty, undernourished children and adolescents, and served as her neighborhood’s representative before the local government where she argued for an improved quality of life for those around her.”
As a League leader and volunteer, Dr. Modad spearheaded a winter shelter for the homeless, participated in drives for eyeglasses, partook in vaccination programs and family planning initiatives and adapted the Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen program to the Mexican norm. She also took on infant malnutrition, volunteered at hospitals, collected wigs for chemotherapy patients and shepherded the Junior League of Mexico City’s famous recycling program through the case study process at Harvard Business School.
About the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award
In 1901, a 19-year-old debutante with a social conscience rallied 80 of her peers to improve the squalid living conditions of immigrants on New York City’s Lower East Side, forming the first Junior League. Eighty-nine years later, in 1990, the AJLI Board of Directors created the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award as a way of recognizing an individual Junior League member whose volunteer efforts embody Mary Harriman’s pioneering spirit, her sense of social responsibility, and her ability to motivate others to share their talents through effective volunteer action. It serves as a modern-day link to our rich heritage—and to the tradition Mary began.
About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.
Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is comprised of more than 155,000 women in 293 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world.
Tracy Van Buskirk
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