The United Nations Association of New York
2017 UN Day
Humanitarian Awards Dinner




From left: Mrs. Sungeun Chi; 2017 Humanitarian Award honoree Mr. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the 47th Vice President of the United States, and 2017 honoree Mr. Youngsuk Chi, Chairman of Elsevier, and Director of Corporate Affairs of RELX Group. | Photos: Melanie Quinn Photography

On Friday, November 3, the United Nations Association of New York announced the honorees for its annual Humanitarian of the Year awards, during the celebratory UN Day gala dinner commemorating the 72nd Anniversary of the United Nations.

Receiving the award this year was Joseph R. Biden Jr., the 47th Vice President of the United States, and Youngsuk Chi, Chairman of Elsevier and Director of Corporate Affairs of RELX Group.

This year the UN Day honorees selected were individuals and organizations which were honored for their extraordinary commitment and tireless dedication in leading global health initiatives for improving cancer outcomes as well as information analytics related to global health.

"In Mr. Biden and Elsevier, this year's honorees exemplify the type of personal leadership and private sector commitment vital to helping the United Nations achieve its goals," said Abid Qureshi, the president of UNA-NY.

Under Vice President Biden's leadership, the White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative resulted in new programs and collaborations to improve cancer research and care. Additionally, the initiative was included in the 21st Century Cures Act signed into law in December 2016 in the USA, providing nearly US$2 billion of funding for cancer research and precision medicine.

With the Cancer Moonshot, Biden's focused ambition aimed to achieve two things: an increase of both private and public resources to fight cancer, and to bring all the cancer fighters together — to share common endeavors as well as information — and to end cancer in the near future.

The Cancer Moonshot sees accelerating cancer research efforts leading the "ambitious goal of making a decade's worth of cancer research progress in five years, and to bring the most promising science and clinical developments to all cancer patients in the near term," according to its Blue Ribbon Panel Report.

This is an enormous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the course of cancer — with the entire cancer community and our nation coming together, galvanized by the support, coordination, and infusion of funding made available by the initiative.

Elsevier, part of RELX Group, is a global information analytics business that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Its customers rely on its ability to provide high-quality content and critical information for making scientific and medical decisions, to increase research effectiveness, to improve medical outcomes, and to enhance the efficiency of healthcare.

The Lancet Oncology, Elsevier's leading oncological research journal, recently hosted a symposium for its Commission on Future Cancer Research Priorities in the U.S. The Commission aims to bolster the recommendations in the Blue Ribbon Panel scientific roadmap, in order to expand new advances in cancer diagnosis, prevention and treatment, while prioritizing research areas that would accelerate efforts to benefit patients. In a special issue of the Lancet Oncology journal, Elsevier also seeks to facilitate new international collaborations to further enhance global efforts in cancer control.

Bringing their own youthful charm to the evening, our three 2017 Summer Scholars recipients — Katie Nelson, Niki Shrestha and Jaynice Del Rosario — shared some brief comments on their experiences and inspirations this year.

One of our key programs and completely funded by UNA-NY, the Summer Scholars fellowships are awarded to select students each year for the purpose of enabling students in graduate degree programs to experience work abroad with the United Nations or its agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations.

The mission of the Scholars program is to foster direct knowledge and understanding of the United Nations and international organizations. This year's three fellowships were situated in Laos, Turkey and Vietnam, in collaborations with UNFPA and Plan International.

The United Nations Association of New York is the host UN chapter of UNA-USA, and we are dedicated to supporting the principles and vital work of the United Nations, strengthening the UN system and promoting constructive U.S. leadership. We want to express our deepest gratitude for the ongoing passion and commitment of our attendees and sponsors, who generously continue to acknowledge and support the important work of the UN.

All Photography:

A Message from Dr. Tedros of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the 2017 Humanitarian Awards Honorees