In Case You Missed It: CARE National Conference Day 1

In Case You Missed It: CARE National Conference Day 1

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Bookending Day One of the 2016 CARE National Conference, two plenary sessions captured the imagination and hearts of more than 400 volunteer advocates who “traveled some distance and put aside obligations, because you believe in the imperative to overcome poverty and achieve social justice,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE president and CEO, setting the tone in her welcome to conference participants. “I’m grateful to be here in solidarity with all of you. We’re all here to share our commitment, passion and knowledge.”

And with that shared energy, change is happening, said Terri McCollough, CEO for No Ceilings, The Full Participation Project. “Today more than ever we have a roadmap to equality, we have a data-driven case to support it; we know that promoting the rights and opportunities of women and girls is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, and we have the continuing momentum to achieve it.”

It was a hope-filled launch that carried into the breakout afternoon sessions and flavored the evening’s main dinner event — a celebration of the CARE Package’s 70th birthday. Featured were more than a dozen senders and recipients — former WWII refugees — of those first CARE Packages seven decades ago. Keynote speaker and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, herself a former refugee, marked the celebration by saying that CARE is much more than a first responder. “CARE is a powerful and unequivocal force for good. It’s a force the world desperately needs at this hour because the ancient enemies of human progress – poverty, ignorance and disease — are all on the march.”

Closing the day and the evening, actress and activist Julianna Margulies presented the 2016 Deliver Lasting Change award to Syrian activists Sandra Bitarova, Houda Atassi and Maria Alabdeh for exemplifying determination, strength and ingenuity. Bitarova said she hesitated to accept the award because of the continued suffering so many Syrians face every day. She spoke for the trio: “The real heroes are still inside Syria, providing humanitarian services.”