LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Jhpiego, an international health nonprofit and Johns Hopkins University affiliate, will honor actress Zoe Saldana-Perego and her husband, artist Marco Perego-Saldana, with the 2019 Visionary Award in recognition of the couple's outstanding philanthropic efforts to support mothers and newborns.
Ms. Saldana-Perego, star of Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek and Avatar, and Mr. Perego-Saldana, an internationally recognized artist whose work has appeared in shows from London to Miami, will be honored April 29, 2019, at Jhpiego's Los Angeles gala, Laughter Is the Best Medicine. The couple, parents to three boys, has championed a community of diverse, artistic voices through BESE, a media platform they co-founded in 2018 to celebrate "the untold stories of today's changing America."
Ms. Saldana-Perego and Mr. Perego-Saldana were chosen to receive the Visionary Award, which recognizes significant humanitarian work and an abiding commitment to improving the lives of women and children globally, based on their joint commitment to tackle tough issues, pursue their convictions fearlessly, and advocate powerfully for a better future for women and families.
Ms. Saldana-Perego, who has spoken about the premature birth of her twins, has said, "My wish for every child and every global citizen is that they have medical aid accessible to them. That's what I wish for children and people all over the world."
Held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the Jhpiego event showcases the organization's global achievements and impact in the delivery of lifesaving, high-quality health care to women and families worldwide. Ms. Saldana-Perego and Mr. Perego-Saldana will be honored along with Wyck Godfrey, president of Paramount's Motion Picture Group, and Mary Kerr, MD, MPH.
Mr. Godfrey, acclaimed producer of the recently released First Man, starring Ryan Gosling, and the two hit series The Maze Runner and Twilight, and Dr. Kerr, a prominent Los Angeles obstetrician-gynecologist, will receive the Elyse Bila Ouedraogo Award, named for a nurse in Burkina Faso who worked passionately to ensure that women had access to screening for cervical cancer—the disease that ultimately took her life. The couple was chosen to receive this award because of their commitment to giving back and improving inequities and disparities in people's most basic needs, such as access to health care and clean water.
Ms. Saldana-Perego, who has worked with Shot@Life and Brave Beginnings to ensure babies have access to lifesaving immunizations and quality newborn care, and Mr. Perego-Saldana, a parent who defies traditional gender norms and stereotypes, have shown that they understand the inequity and challenges women and children face, whether they live in Johannesburg or Baltimore.
Ms. Saldana-Perego's breakthrough in film came in 2009 with her appearance as Nyota Uhura in the Star Trek film series and as Neytiri in the Avatar film series. Mr. Perego-Saldana has exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Museo Tuscolano in Rome, Art Basel Miami and Zurich's Galerie Gmurzynska.