Coptic Orphans' 25th Anniversary Galas in Canada, United States, and Australia Benefit Children of Egypt

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Over 1,000 guests attended Coptic Orphans' 25th anniversary galas in Canada, the United States, and Australia. Gala guests signed up to sponsor better education, healthcare, and housing for over 150 children.

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II appears with Coptic Orphans staff and supporters before receiving the Leading by Example Award at the Coptic Orphans 25th Anniversary Gala in Brampton, ON, Sept. 28, 2014

We're grateful to the more than 1,000 guests who made our 25th anniversary galas in Canada, the United States, and Australia a huge success, and we're especially thankful for the blessing of H.H. Pope Tawadros II's presence

Coptic Orphans held galas in Canada, the United States, and Australia in 2014 to celebrate educating and empowering 30,000 Egyptian children through 25 years of work, prayers, and support from sponsors, partners, and community leaders.

"Coptic Orphans has had 25 incredible years of serving the children of Egypt, and we're so grateful to the Church-based volunteers and community leaders who are our backbone in Egypt, and to the bishops and reverend fathers who welcome and work with us, and to all the sponsors who have nurtured and improved the lives of thousands of children," said Coptic Orphans founder and executive director Nermien Riad.

"By the grace of God, the 25th anniversary galas had remarkable results: Thanks to our guests' generous sponsorships, we'll be able to add over 150 orphans in Egypt to our programs, ensuring they have access to higher education commensurate with their skills and ambitions, providing them with better healthcare and housing, and meeting other needs as they arise," said Riad. "This is a commitment to more than 150 children that we'll provide years of love and support."

"We're grateful to the more than 1,000 guests who made our 25th anniversary galas in Canada, the United States, and Australia a huge success, and we're especially thankful for the blessing of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II's presence at our Sept. 28 gala in Canada," said Riad.

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, who leads the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and its 8-12 million members worldwide, appeared in person at the gala in Brampton, Canada to accept the Coptic Orphans Leading by Example Award. The award honors pioneers whose character and achievements make them role models in Egypt and around the world.

"His Holiness Pope Tawadros II was our clear choice to receive the Leading by Example Award because of his noble and constant efforts to realize his vision of an Egypt of tolerance and prosperity, where Christians and Muslims live alongside one another in peace," said Riad.

"I was especially proud to present the Leading by Example Award to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II because he has been an incredible advocate for the children as far back as 1999, when he worked with Coptic Orphans as a general bishop," Riad said.

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II told the audience at the gala in Canada: "I served indirectly with Coptic Orphans in the areas where I was general bishop alongside Bishop Bachomious. During this time, I watched Coptic Orphans and their very effective service in three locations: the border city of Marsa Matrouh; King Mariout, a desert city; and El Beihira, which is an agricultural governorate. I watched them impact all three of these areas."

"I congratulate the [Coptic Orphans] staff in Canada, the United States, Australia, and Egypt and tell them: Bravo for your service, and I'm not sure who's happier, you or the children you serve — you are all happier!" said His Holiness Pope Tawadros II.

"His Holiness Pope Tawadros II's presence at our 25th Anniversary Gala was an incredible honor, and an affirmation of the years of work that thousands of Canadians have devoted to educating and empowering Egypt's children through their prayers, volunteering, and support," said Manal Bedwany, director of Coptic Orphans' Canada office.

Former NASA scientist Dr. Farouk El-Baz, an adviser to Egyptian presidents past and present, accepted the Leading by Example Award at the gala in Reston, VA in the United States on Oct. 11.
"Dr. Farouk El-Baz has contributed so much to science, and to his native Egypt," said Riad. "He is one of Egypt’s most influential scientists, and we were honored to present him with Coptic Orphans’ Leading by Example Award."

Ola Ghabbour, recipient of the Leading by Example Award in 2008, was honored posthumously at the U.S. gala for her incredible and tireless dedication to improving the lives of the children of Egypt.

At Australia's celebration in Sydney, NSW on Nov. 9, the guest of honor and Leading by Example Award recipient was Nick Kaldas, APM, deputy commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force.

"We were thrilled to welcome Nick Kaldas as our guest of honor and recipient of the Leading by Example Award," said Nevine Iskander, director of the Coptic Orphans office in Australia. "Mr. Kaldas is a highly respected and accomplished Australian Copt, whose strength of character and commitment to serving the community at home and abroad made him our choice for this honor."

Other honored guests included:

Canada:
The Honourable Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women
His Excellency Amin Meleika, Consul General of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Montreal

United States:
Mr. Ayman Aldesouky Youssef, Consul General of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Washington, D.C.

Australia:
His Excellency Mahmoud Zayed, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to New Zealand
Mr. Youssef Hassan Shawki, Consul General of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Sydney
Mr. Ahmed Farid Morsy, Vice Consul of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Sydney
The Honorable Greg Donnelly MLC
Reverend the Honorable Fred Nile MLC

The Copts, Egypt's indigenous Christian community, have a faith stretching back to the first century AD. They are now a minority of Egypt's population. An estimated 1.5-2.5 million Copts now live in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other countries.

Coptic Orphans is an award-winning international Christian development organization that unlocks the God-given potential of vulnerable children in Egypt, and so equips them to break the cycle of poverty and become change-makers in their communities. Coptic Orphans works through grassroots partners and volunteer networks to strengthen local communities for sustainable impact. Since 1988, Coptic Orphans has touched the lives of over 30,000 children throughout Egypt. Coptic Orphans has offices in Australia, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom, and the United States. To learn more, visit http://www.copticorphans.org.

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Jon Pattee
Coptic Orphans
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