Latin pop star Shakira and Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova received awards for their humanitarian work and then watched a fashion show featuring clothes from nine developing countries partly made by women trying to escape poverty.
More than 400 fans and fashionistas joined guests for the two events and a panel on Poverty, Women and Human Rights on Monday. It focused on the success of small microcredit loans which hundreds of millions of women have used to start businesses and the need to help the 1 billion people who still live on $1 a day or less.
"Let's not forget at the end of this day when we all go home, 960 children will have died in Latin America," Shakira said after accepting her award for starting a charitable foundation, Barefoot, to help children in her native Colombia escape violence.
"That's the truth we cannot allow today, not today, not in this century, not belonging to this generation, the first generation that can actually provoke tangible changes in the world," the five-time Grammy award winner said.
"As part of a generation that has so many ideas and technologies and things that my parents' generation didn't have access to ... lets take advantage of this historical opportunity we have within reach to make this world a better place," Shakira said.
The nonprofit organization Women Together, which is currently concentrating on providing small loans so low income women can produce textiles, sponsored the awards and the fashion show. It honored 10 women and two organizations.
Kurkova, who is only 21-years-old, was honored for working for the welfare of children through organizations such as "The Beautiful Life Fund" and "Free Arts." She opened the fashion show saying the designers were introducing fabrics from traditional weavers to the Western world of high fashion.
"'Fashion for Development' aims to empower women through more economic independence and contribute to the eradication of poverty," she said, before jumping off the runway into a front-row seat.
The audience, which included Nane Annan, wife of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, applauded loudly for the high-fashion clothes from Colombia, Panama, India, Uruguay, Bangladesh, Mexico, Morocco, Peru and Brazil.
In addition to Shakira and Kurkova, many others winners showed up to accept their awards, a Spanish contemporary sculpture, reports the AP.