Kailua woman honored with 2017 Ellis Island Medals of Honor - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kailua woman honored with 2017 Ellis Island Medals of Honor

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Today, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO), announced the recipients of the 2017 Ellis Island Medals of Honor. Dame Tadia Rice of Kailua, Hawaii is among the one hundred outstanding Americans in business, government, medicine, art, and education, and the military. Rice is among the honorees for the 2017 Medal that include former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, journalist Fareed Zakaria of CNN's flagship foreign affairs show, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, Mindy Grossman the CEO of HSN, Inc., chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller, and philanthropist and film studio executive Sherry Lansing.

Rice is a keynote speaker, management consultant, and organizational dynamics expert whose career began at Xerox Corporation and eventually led her to the entertainment industry and international relations. She specialized in emerging democracy issues and bi-lateral trade agreements for over a decade in South Africa. Her global perspectives on leadership include the wisdom of Hawaiian Aloha and African Ubuntu. Rice has managed American Baseball Hall of Fame stars and collaborated with the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, Upper Deck, NBC Television, and Television Lebatt. She served as Entertainment Agent for the Republic of Namibia Independence Celebrations, and has worked with Edward James Olmos, Danny Glover, Dizzy Gillespie, Ben Vereen, Keiko Matsui, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Tabu Laye, and many others. Rice has appeared on stage, film, television and radio, and as a performer/playwright/actress/singer she competed for Grammy nominations for her music drama based on a real life heroic woman, Tahirih, known as Joan of Arc of the Eastern World. Rice has written about her experience in corporate America as a sole female, and also authored a riveting and poignant examination of Rwanda's genocide. Rice serves on the Board of Directors of Hawaii Maoli that promotes the social and economic self-sufficiency of native Hawaiian communities, and also the Tahirih Association, a non-profit NGO that has educated 22 girls and women around the world. She has been President of the Speakers Association of Hawaii;   a member of the GRAMMY Awards Producer’s Wing; Organization of Women Leaders; National Association of Parliamentarians; Honolulu Museum of Art's African American Film Festival; Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club; and Ha'a Hula 'O Kekau'ilani Na Pua Hala 'O Kailua hula halau. As a committed volunteer at the Hawaii Women’s Correctional Center, Rice’s skills-building program is one of the most popular courses that helps inmates increase communication and presentation skills, self-esteem, and confidence.

Rice has been recognized by the United Nations Association, U.S. Congress, California State Senate, and the cities of Atlanta, Honolulu, and Los Angeles, for work for human rights, women's organizations, and international relations. For her life-long humanitarian work, Rice was invested as a Knight by the philanthropic chivalric Orthodox Order of St. John.

In its 31st year, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor ceremony will once again be held on Ellis Island on May 13, starting at 6:30pm ET. The ceremony, which will be followed by a black-tie Gala Dinner in the historic Great Hall, will take place in the original registry room, a symbolic and literal gateway for 12 million immigrants to the U.S.

“Ellis Island remains an iconic symbol of hope, new beginnings and freedom. NECO’s Medals of Honor stand to remind citizens to support ethnic inclusion, diversity and the pursuit of the American Dream for all, something especially needed today’s current political climate,” said Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of NECO.

The medal recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity with those less fortunate; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America.  Since the Medal was founded in 1986, NECO has honored such distinguished and diverse Americans including: seven Presidents of the United States; Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel; Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Secretaries of State Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton; Bob Hope; Muhammad Ali; Frank Sinatra; Rosa Parks; Mike Wallace and Mia Farrow. All have distinguished themselves through their significant philanthropic and humanitarian contributions to this country.

Upon receiving notice of the Award Rice stated, "The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is an immense distinction and privilege. I am humbled and grateful for this significant and extraordinary recognition. It is an honor to join the many remarkable recipients who I have long admired and respected. I learned long ago from the Baha'i Writings that a person must find constant expression in service to humanity, and when work is performed in a spirit of service, it truly becomes an act of worship."

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most renowned awards. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.

To see the full list of 2017 recipients, please visit: http://www.neco.org

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