Monica Yunus Honoured for Humanitarian Achievements

The talented New York Metropolitan Opera soprano Monica Yunus is to be honoured with a Doha 21st Century Leader Award, to be presented during a special gala dinner at the Grand Hyatt Doha in Qatar.

The daughter of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Monica is one of the founders and co-director of the non-profit organisation Sing for Hope. The organisation mobilizes more than 600 professional artists – from classical musicians to photographers to Broadway performers – in volunteer service programs that benefit communities in need.

Inspired by the work of her father, and the plight of people suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Monica began by organising fundraising concerts with her colleagues from The Metropolitan Opera. Today, all of the programs run by Sing for Hope incorporate three core elements: a gift of time and talent from professional artists, specialised innovative artistic programming, and the final element of social change. “As well as community building and raising awareness of humanitarian causes, Sing for Hope events encourage vibrant new audiences for the performing arts, and through our educational component, introduce young people to the idea of art as a means to better our world” says Monica.

She went on to say “I am absolutely thrilled to be presented with one of the inaugural Doha 21st Century Leaders Awards and so happy to be able to attend the event in person to receive it. Recognition of my work with Sing for Hope is very important to me, and I look forward to continuing to lift our voices for further social change.”

The Doha 21st Century Leaders Awards ceremony and gala dinner will be held on 30 October to mark the humanitarian and environmental achievements of individuals who have made a serious commitment and significant impact to their chosen cause.

Famous personalities, unsung Qatari heroes and social innovators from the region who have made substantial efforts in either pioneering change within their own communities or by reaching out through humanitarian efforts and environmental projects worldwide will be rewarded and recognised on this special evening.

American actor and film producer Josh Hartnett, who came to fame after his first film role Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and in the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, will be honoured alongside esteemed British actor Sir Ben Kingsley who won an academy award for his portrayal of Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi. The multi-award winning director and producer team of Danny Boyle and Christian Colson, who made last year’s smash hit Slumdog Millionaire, will also be recognised.

The recipients will receive an award entitled “Draw Your Own Time” that has been specially designed by respected artist and sculptor Lorenzo Quinn, who has a long history of being commissioned for public works in Qatar including the “Give & Take” statue marking the entrance of the Aspire Sports Academy in Doha.