HRH Princess Dana Firas and Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan
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Celebrating Heritage Champions at the 2019 Hadrian Gala

HRH Princess Dana Firas and Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan

Last night, friends and supporters of World Monuments Fund gathered at NYC’s iconic Rainbow Room for the 2019 Hadrian Gala, honoring two extraordinary leaders in the field of cultural heritage: Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, and HRH Princess Dana Firas.

Over cocktails and dinner, guests were first treated to a special introduction to the 25 sites of the 2020 World Monuments Watch by WMF’s new CEO, Bénédicte de Montlaur. Tim McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation, founding sponsor of the Watch, was also on hand to speak to the important role the program plays in safeguarding the world’s treasures. Bénédicte and Tim then presented Lisa Ackerman, WMF’s former COO and interim CEO, with a special token of appreciation for her 12 years of contributions to the organization.

Ambiance at the 2019 Hadrian Gala.

Later in the evening, celebrated French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy took the stage to introduce his close friend, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, recipient of the 2019 Hadrian Award. Among his many accomplishments in partnership with his wife Daphne, Dr. Kaplan is past President and Chairman of the 92nd Street Y, founder and Chairman of the leading felid conservation organization Panthera, and founder of The Leiden Collection – the largest private collection of Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age. Since 2017 Dr. Kaplan has served as Chairman of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), a Franco-Emirati initiative that funds preventive, emergency response, and restoration programs for endangered cultural property around the world.

Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan receives the 2019 Hadrian Award.

Lorna B. Goodman, Chair of WMF, next took the stage to introduce HRH Princess Dana Firas, recipient of the 2019 Watch Award. Her Royal Highness is a global advocate for heritage protection and preservation as a foundation for development, responsible tourism, political identity and participation. She serves as President of Petra National Trust, Jordan’s national institution for the protection and preservation of national cultural heritage – with a focus on the World Heritage Site of Petra. World Monuments Fund and Petra National Trust are currently partners on a project providing stonemasonry conservation skills to Syrian refugees and Jordanians.

HRH Princess Dana Firas receives the 2019 Watch Award.

For more from the special evening, browse the image slideshow below.