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NEW YORK, NY, August 11, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Safi Rauf, a former prisoner of the Taliban who put his medical career on hold to establish Human First Coalition with his brothers, today announced the line-up of honorees and entertainers who will participate in the organization's first fundraiser at New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion on August 15, the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
According to Rauf, honorees include U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who will receive the Haji Abdul Rauf Service Award for advocating nationally and internationally on behalf of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, for leading several evacuation efforts in Mazar-i-Sharif this past fall, and for being a model for exemplary allyship in resettling and providing resources for Afghans in the state of Connecticut.
Receiving the Partner Organization Award is the Archewell Foundation and its co-founders, Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their advocacy on behalf of and generous financial support for at-risk Afghans as well as military veterans who served in Afghanistan. Accepting the award will be Archewell Foundation Executive Director James Holt.
"It's an honor to be recognized by Human First Coalition, whose steadfast work in Afghanistan has played a critical role in delivering much needed aid and resulted in the successful evacuation and resettlement of thousands globally. We share a commitment to supporting families and veterans and are grateful for their partnership." — James Holt, Executive Director of Archewell Foundation.
"Both Sen. Blumenthal and the Archewell Foundation were instrumental in assisting us as we organized efforts to assist Afghans who were left behind when the Taliban took Kabul," Rauf stated. "We cannot thank them enough for their support."
The evening will feature traditional Afghan food, music, performances and a bazaar. Tickets are just $100 and sponsorships are available. Entertaining the evening's guests are a variety of singers, musicians and other artists
• Farhad Darya, Afghanistan's most popular singer and the United Nations Development Program's National Goodwill Ambassador for Afghanistan.
• Zarifa Adiba, conductor of Afghanistan's first and only all-female orchestra who recently who was recently resettled in the U.S. this spring
• Norm Lewis, Broadway star and Tony and Grammy nominee
• And more!
According to Steering Committee chair, Nargis Kabiri Mougey, the first female Task Force FSO Commander for Third Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, entertainment professionals assisting in putting the evening together include:
• Sammi Cannold, Director, who was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30.
• Jason Sherwood, a two-time Emmy winning set designer.
• Brian Tovar, a Drama Desk nominee for lighting design.
• Mona Seyed-Bolorforosh, a conductor and music director.
• Mary McGowan, a freelance producer, director and actor.,
• Jen Wilson, Army Week Association Chief Operating Officer
About Safi Rauf and Human First Coalition
Safi Rauf, 27, was born in an Afghan-refugee camp in Pakistan and eventually emigrated to the United States when he was a teenager. He attended Georgetown University followed by the University of Nebraska-Omaha Medical School. Rauf is a Navy reservist and served in Afghanistan as a linguist and cultural adviser embedded with the military. He first visited Taliban-controlled Kabul in November while the Human First Coalition was assessing how to curtail the quickly unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. With their tacit approval, he worked closely with the U.S. government and the Taliban to provide aid and evacuate Afghans who had documents to leave. Although Human First's operations were approved, when Rauf returned to Afghanistan in December 2021 to continue his humanitarian efforts, he was unlawfully detained and held by the Taliban for 105 days. He was tortured, went on a hunger strike and sat in an 8-foot by 8-foot basement room with no blankets, mattresses, or daylight. When he was finally released, his imprisonment was called "a mistake" by the Taliban.
About Human First Coalition
A non-profit organization dedicated to providing critically needed humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, the Human First Coalition was founded by Washingtonian of the Year and former Taliban hostage Safi Rauf. It focuses on providing food, shelter, and healthcare for those in need as well facilitating evacuation and resettlement for eligible Afghans. To date, Human First has evacuated more than 7,000 vulnerable Afghans working alongside the U.S. State Department, partner NGOs, and a team of staff and volunteers around the world to carry out this vital work.
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