[Photos] 2018 Global Gift Gala – Eva Longoria, Shilpa Shetty, Shabana Azmi, Huda Kattan, Deepak Chopra and Gary Dourdan walk the red carpet in Dubai

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Maria Bravo and Eva Longoria-Baston celebrate 6th annual Global Gift Gala in Dubai with star talent Gary Dourdan, Huda Kattan, Shabana Azmi, Shilpa Shetty and Deepak Chopra

The Global Gift Gala returned to Dubai for the sixth time on Thursday December 13 with a stellar evening in the Grosvenor House Hotel, to raise crucial funds for Dubai Cares and the Global Gift Foundation.

An array of international and local talent joined Global Gift Foundation founder Maria Bravo and Global Gift Ambassador Eva Longoria Baston at the event, with Gary Dourdan, Huda Kattan, Shabana Azmi, Shilpa Shetty and Deepak Chopra walking the red carpet and enthusiastically participating in the gala’s proceedings, while a who’s-who of Dubai also attended the event to raise the bar on fundraising in the UAE.

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The event offered the opportunity to reflect on the Global Gift Foundation’s achievements since adding Dubai to their calendar of worldwide fundraising events in 2013. Since that time, millions of dollars has been donated to projects with a focus on impacting real and positive change to the lives of thousands of children, women and families around the world including treatment for children with cancer and life-changing operations for disabled children, the development and construction of a multifunctional centre for children with rare and chronic diseases in Marbella, Spain and micro-loan programs for women in the developing world to empower their futures, together with projects alongside UNICEF and the Diana Princess of Wales Charity among many others.

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Emcees for the evening, broadcasters Tom Urquart and Enjy Kiwan, navigated a series of powerful speeches by the gala’s ambassadors, including Eva Longoria Baston, while social advocate and award-winning Indian actress Shabana Azmi spoke on the subject of empowerment of women – a recurring theme throughout the evening.

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Global Gift Awards, honouring their extraordinary philanthropic efforts were presented to UPL Executive Director Vikram Schroff (Global Gift Philanthropist Award), artist Sacha Jafri (Global Gift Humanitarian Award), entrepreneur Huda Kattan (Global Gift Women Empowerment Award), General Manager of Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort + Spa Pam Wilby (Global Gift Philanthropreneur Award) and Mahira Jethwani (Global Gift Young Philanthropist Award).

In addition, Dubai resident and CEO of GEMS Education, Sunny Varkey, received the Global Gift Life Time Achievement Award for his tireless philanthropic work over decades both in the UAE and abroad. Founding the Varkey Foundation in 2010 with his wife Sherly, Sunny Varkey has enthusiastically committed himself to the development of educational causes benefiting the lives of thousands.

Live auction

Leading the bidding during the live auction was a unique artwork created by prolific British artist Sacha Jafri. The piece was painted during a recent visit by Jafri to Global Gift Foundation beneficiary Harmony House in Gurgaon, India. Harmony House supports around 500 children each day, some of whom contributed to the painting, and also provides vocational services and training programmes for women and older children alike.

Philanthropic bidders also has the opportunity to nab a 1958 lithograph of French painter Marc Chagal’s ‘Bird’, and a line-up of unique jewellery, collectables and one-of-a-kind experiences including a piece fromJean Paul Gaultier’s Spring-Summer 2014 Haute Couture Butterfly Effect collection, donated by John Paul Gaultier himself, the opportunity to see Manchester City train, and bespoke travel packages in destinations such as Sotogrande, Spain, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur.

After the event, Maria Bravo commented on the success of the sixth Global Gift Gala to be held in Dubai: “December in Dubai is an important time for us. With each edition of the Dubai gala it gets stronger and stronger, resulting in tangible and long-lasting change in the people’s lives that benefit from the projects we fund. It’s through partners like Dubai Cares that we are able to unite on an evening like this and help others.”

Dubai Cares partnered with GGG for the sixth consecutive year. Commenting on their joint effort, His Excellency Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares said: “Dubai Cares’ long-standing partnership with the Global Gift Foundation reflects the impact of such a high-profile event in creating opportunities to improve the lives of underprivileged children and young people in developing countries. Through our education programs, we are empowering the next generation with the skills they need to thrive in the future.”

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