Press Release

2011 UNICEF Ball honors Medavoy family and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan

The biennial UNICEF Ball, one of Los Angeles’ most notable black-tie benefit galas, took place on Thursday, December 8 at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. This year, Irena, Nick and Mike Medavoy were honored with UNICEF’s prestigious Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award, in namesake of UNICEF’s first Goodwill Ambassador, and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan was recognized as a Woman of Compassion.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA (December 12, 2011) — The biennial UNICEF Ball, one of Los Angeles' most notable black-tie benefit galas, took place on Thursday, December 8 at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel.  This year, Irena, Nick and Mike Medavoy were honored with UNICEF's prestigious Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award, in namesake of UNICEF's first Goodwill Ambassador, and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan was recognized as a Woman of Compassion.  Presented by Baccarat, the special evening raised more than $1.3 million and brought together a prominent group of philanthropists, celebrities and community leaders to honor those individuals who have made key contributions to UNICEF's mission to save and improve children's lives worldwide. 

"UNICEF knows that supportive families and communities provide the foundation for a safe and healthy childhood.  Protecting children and their families lies at the heart of UNICEF's work, and we are honored to present the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award to the Medavoy family for continuing the tradition of service to children," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.  "Much like Danny Kaye, Irena and Mike believe in helping youth — both as faithful advocates to those less fortunate and by empowering their son, Nick, to be a champion for kids in need."

Stern continued, "We are delighted to have had the opportunity to acknowledge Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan's boundless humanitarian efforts on behalf of the world's children.  She is truly a UNICEF Woman of Compassion and has touched the lives of many in need. She is not only an outspoken voice for the protection of civilians in conflict and for displaced persons around the world, but her devotion to women's rights and their empowerment is unparalleled."
"Me, Irena and our son Nick are very pleased to share this evening with Queen Noor," said Mike Medavoy. "I want to thank UNICEF for this wonderful honor named after one of my childhood idols, Danny Kaye. He was funny, talented and a true humanitarian, helping those who are young and unprotected."

"I am a constant advocate for compassionate leadership and UNICEF is a quintessential example of an organization that is all about compassionate leadership," said Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. "UNICEF has been a voice for those without a voice in conflict regions and countries around the world, and through their focus on children, who are so often the primary victims of conflict, helping to humanize what are often just headlines."

The 2011 UNICEF Ball, emceed by Mary Hart, was co-chaired by Ghada Irani, Tamar & Bob Manoukian and Lori Milken.  Additional committee hosts included Red Barris, Rebecka & Arie Belldegrun, Kelly & Robert Day, Danielle & Ernie Del, Kimberly & John Emerson, Vanessa & Billy Getty, Anjelica Huston, Holly Jacobs, Jena & Michael King, Lyn & Norman Lear, Victoria Oberfeld, Veronique Peck, Renvy Pittman, Nadine & Fredric Rosen, Heather Reisman & Gerry Schwartz, Florence & Harry Sloan, Melinda & Art Spigel, Jennifer & Sylvester Stallone, Cheryl Tiegs, Susie Ekins & Jerry Weintraub and Cynthia & Bud Yorkin.

Many notable UNICEF supporters attended the festivities including Kristen Bell, Brooklyn Decker, Jenna Elfman, Felicity Huffman & William H. Macy, Quincy Jones, Larry King, Diane Kruger, Eva LaRue, Sandra Lee, Jayma Mays, Rose McGowan, Benjamin McKenzie, Matthew Morrison, Megan Mullally & Nick Offerman, Sean Penn, Dennis Quaid, Sugar Ray Leonard, Lionel Richie, Nicole Richie, Adam Rodriguez, Dax Shepard, David Spade, Nia Vardalos & Ian Gomez and Kate Walsh.

During the evening, Sean Penn presented the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award to Irena, Nick and Mike Medavoy for their extraordinary commitment to children, family and UNICEF’s ongoing mission.  The 2011 UNICEF Ball, produced by Scott Mauro Entertainment with décor by Mitie Tucker Productions, featured a live auction and entertainment by Lionel Richie, Melanie Fiona, Hunter Perrin, L.P. (Laura Pergolizzi), and young pianist Emily Bear. Notable auction items included VIP tickets and backstage passes to a Selena Gomez concert benefiting the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and lunch with Queen Noor.

About The Medavoys

As a spokes model, entrepreneur and executive, Irena Medavoy has enjoyed Hollywood success both in front of and behind the camera.  After a successful stint of modeling and full scholarship to the prestigious School of Cinematic Arts at USC, Irena worked as the Vice President of Publicity for Sunn Classic Pictures.  In 1991, she launched the first all-female direct response television company, Phoenix Enterprises, where she invented, manufactured and produced original products for QVC, including beauty and skincare lines with Christophe and Ole Henrikson, Rapp-It, Style File and My Favorite Cookbook.

Sample some of the best American films over the past 35 years and there's a good chance Mike Medavoy played a role in the success of many of them.  From agent to studio chief to producer, he has been involved with over 300 feature films, of which 16 have been nominated and seven have won Best Picture Oscars®.  As chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures, Mike has brought to the screen such critically-acclaimed American classics as The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Thin Red Line, Shutter Island and Black Swan.

Irena and Mike have not only made marks within their industries, but in their communities as well — together, they share a desire for social change that motivates them in the upbringing of their son, Nick as well as in their charitable work and commitment to help those less fortunate.  Irena serves as the Executive Vice Chair of C.O.A.C.H., Community Outreach Assistance for Children's Health for Kids, a clinic on wheels staffed by a dedicated team of Cedar-Sinai Medical Center health professionals, and is a founder of Team Safe-T, an organization dedicated to integrating emergency preparedness and safety in schools throughout California. 

Committed to community and education advancement, Mike was appointed as Commissioner of the Los Angeles Board of Parks & Recreation and serves on the Board of Trustees of the UCLA Foundation.  In 2002, Mike was appointed to the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center's Executive Advisory Board; also he is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the Homeland Security Advisory Council.  Earlier this year, Mike traveled to Chile with UNICEF to raise awareness of the harsh realities surrounding the Chilean education system and the developmental support UNICEF delivers to the children and families it serves.

About Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan

Her Majesty Queen Noor is an international public servant and outspoken voice on issues of international exchange and understanding of Arab, Muslim and Western relations, and conflict prevention and recovery issues such as refugees, missing persons, poverty and disarmament. She has helped found media programs to highlight these issues. Her peace-building work has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Queen Noor's work in Jordan and the Arab world has focused on national and regional human security issues in the areas of education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding. She is actively involved with international and UN organizations, including UNICEF, that addresses global challenges in these fields.


UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

For additional information, please contact:
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634,