Tony Blair was last night recognised for his humanitarian work at a glamorous gala to raise funds for a global children's charity – in front of guests including Lassie the dog.
The controversial former Prime Minster received the Global Legacy Award at the Save the Children Illumination Gala 2014, which was held at The Plaza in New York City.
The star-studded event boasted a guest list featuring Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles, acting couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and Twilight actress Dakota Fanning – as well as the much-loved collie dog.
Upon receiving his award Blair praised aid workers fighting Ebola in West Africa, as well as the increase in the amount of foreign aid donated by the UK over the past 10 years, according to the Mail Online.
“From the beginning of humankind there has been brutality, conflict, intrigue, the destructive obsession with a narrow self-interest,” he said.
“But throughout all human history, never has been extinguished that relentless, unquenchable desire to do good. To act not only in self-interest and sometimes to even to act in defiance of it.”
A spokesman said Blair had been chosen for the award on account of his work while serving as Prime Minster, including setting up the Department for International Development and hosting two G8 summits.
“The UK’s achievement of 0.7 per cent of GNI (gross national income) to international aid in 2014 is the culmination of work started under his leadership,” the spokesman said.
Among the evening's other recipients were Affleck, who was honoured with the Global Child Advocate Award for his support in providing children around the world a stronger start in life, and Austin Hearst of the Hearst Corp., who was bestowed with the Humanitarian Award.
Affleck co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010 with Whitney Williams. The organisation advocates the economic and social growth of the country through various programmes. Meanwhile, his wife works on the US programmes for Save the Children.
Last week development campaigners urged all party leaders to affirm their commitment to legislation enshrining in law Britain's commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid, after Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond dismissed the proposed legislation as “bizarre”.
Aid campaigners are concerned that failure to write the UN target into law would give politicians the option to backslide on aid, which has so far been protected from the coalition's austerity programme of public spending cuts.
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