On May 1, 2014, ASF held its annual Gala Dinner at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. More than 325 Trustees, friends, and guests came together for an evening that celebrated pan-Nordic friendship and excellence.
ASF welcomed H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, and Dorrit Moussaieff, the First Lady of Iceland, as guests of honor for the evening. President Grímsson received the ASF Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding leadership and his dedication to furthering the understanding of issues of vital importance to Iceland and to the world, in particular issues pertaining to the global environment and the Arctic.
The ASF Award for Distinguished Public Service was presented to Monika A. Heimbold by H.E. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, in recognition of her lifelong commitment to the development and well-being of children around the world. A co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation and an ASF Trustee, Mrs. Heimbold has shared the Scandinavian view of childhood development with new and broader audiences through her creative vision and support of the Heimbold Family Children’s Playing and Learning Center at Scandinavia House.
The Sibelius Academy, a global leader in music education, also received the ASF Gold Medal in recognition of its extraordinary efforts to develop and foster Finnish music culture and tradition through its programs of instruction, artistic activity, and research.
The award was presented by renowned Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann and was accepted by Dr. Tuomas Auvinen, Dean of the Sibelius Academy.
A special commemoration by Liv Ullmann marked the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. Guests were also delighted by a performance by 2014 ASF Birgit Nilsson Award recipient Patrick Guetti, accompanied by José Meléndez. The evening concluded with dancing to the music of Grammy Award-winning orchestra Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks.
The Gala Chairs were Hrafnhildur and Kristján T. Ragnarsson. The Gala Vice-Chairs were Alcoa Foundation, Carl Gustaf Ehrnrooth, Inger G. and William B. Ginsberg, and Joanna Heimbold, Millwright Design LLC.