Melanne Verveer, Somaly Mam to Speak at Inaugural Illuminate Event

The S&R Foundation Launches Illuminate, a Program Celebrating the Ingenuity of the Human Spirit

Jun 13, 2013, 08:02 ET from S&R Foundation

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The S&R Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports talented individuals with high aspirations in the arts and sciences, today announced the launch of Illuminate. Illuminate will present courageous, forward-thinking individuals for enlightening lectures and discussions on a variety of topics that celebrate the ingenuity of the human spirit, and our common ability to spark positive change in the world.  


Ambassador Melanne Verveer and human rights activist Somaly Mam will be the first speakers at Illuminate's inaugural event. Ambassador Verveer was appointed in 2008 as the first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State and today serves as the Director of Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Ms. Mam is an activist fighting against human trafficking and has been recognized by respected organizations around the world for her courage and resilience, named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, a CNN Hero and was recognized by Fortune Magazine speaking at its Most Powerful Women Summit.

"We are thrilled to launch Illuminate with two powerful, world renowned speakers. Ms. Somaly Mam's remarkable story of courage and her dedication to support victims of sex slavery, paired with Ambassador Verveer's advocacy for the advancement of women will create a truly inspirational discussion for Illuminate's audience," said Dr. Sachiko Kuno, president and CEO of the S&R Foundation. "The spirit, strength and leadership of these two individuals perfectly capture the spark Illuminate aims to ignite."

During her four years serving as Ambassador-at-Large, Ambassador Verveer travelled around the world advocating for the political, economic and social advancement of women through public-private partnerships and the integration of women's rights into foreign policy. Her efforts have been recognized through awards like the Secretary of State's Award for Distinguished Service. Ambassador Verveer previously served as Chair and co-CEO for Vital Voices.

Ms. Mam is a respected human rights activist and author of the best selling book The Road of Lost Innocence. A survivor of nearly a decade of sex slavery, Ms. Mam has dedicated her life to supporting other victims of sex slavery by helping provide them with emotional and economic strength. In 2007 Ms. Mam launched the Somaly Mam Foundation offering thousands of survivors of human trafficking a place for their voices to be heard. Both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State have recognized Ms. Mam and her work.

Ms. Verveer and Ms. Mam's discussion will be at the Evermay estate on June 19, and will be available online at following the event. The event is presented with Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization that brings visibility to extraordinary women from more than 144 countries. This event is possible thanks to the generous support of Hilton Worldwide.

About the S&R Foundation
The S&R Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created in 2000 to support talented individuals with great potential and high aspirations in the sciences and arts, especially those who are furthering international cultural collaboration. Our goals are simple, yet bold: to create, support and facilitate initiatives that encourage scientific and artistic innovation, and promote cultural and personal growth. For more information, visit

About Illuminate
The Illuminate Series is an S&R Foundation program devoted to convening passionate, forward-thinkers through an enlightening series of lectures and seminars. The Illuminate community merges innovative ideas across a broad range of fields, including the arts, sciences, and international relations. Illuminate provides a platform for inspiring innovative thought and sparking positive change in the world. For more information, visit

SOURCE S&R Foundation