Hillary Clinton receives award, Hollywood hug at Beverly Hills gala

Hillary Rodham Clinton was wrapped in the embrace of Hollywood once again Friday night, honored at a glittery gala for the International Medical Corps at the Beverly Wilshire hotel for her work with women and girls in Third World countries.

As Clinton remains mum about whether she will run for president in 2016, the titans of Hollywood are gathering around her — publicly signaling their eagerness for a Clinton campaign.

Co-hosting the gala Friday night were Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg and their wives. Last week, fellow Hollywood figure Haim Saban hosted a fundraiser headlined by Clinton for her friend Terry McAuliffe, who on Tuesday was elected governor of Virginia.

Clinton, who was joined by her husband, President Clinton, at a private reception prior to the gala, made no mention of the political intrigue Friday night as she received the group’s “global champion” award. She praised the work of the International Medical Corps, which was founded in 1984 to provide humanitarian aid during global crises.

The organization trains first responders in 30 nations around the world, including Jordan, Haiti, South Sudan and Somalia.

As secretary of State, Clinton witnessed the group’s work firsthand at refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions have been displaced and many women have been the victims of rape and violence in the long-running civil war. After watching the group help with basic needs, Clinton asked the State Department and USAID to provide $17 million for what became known as the CASE project — care, access, safety and empowerment — that worked directly with victims of rape and sexual assault and their families.

In Goma, the area that Clinton visited, more 1,000 cases of rape were being reported each month. At the camp, Clinton said Friday night that she “experienced not only some of the darkest chapters that one can imagine in humanity, but also some of the most inspiring and admirable.”

Clinton noted that throughout her career she has worked with many humanitarian organizations, but she said the International Medical Corps stood out. 

“They really have helped people move from relief to self-reliance,” Clinton said in her brief remarks. “They ask themselves — what can we do to train people not just for the disaster right now, but for whatever comes, and then have them continue to care for the sick and injured in their own communities.”

The reception before the gala drew major figures in the entertainment industry and philanthropy. Among them were Rob Friedman, the co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group; Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone; Los Angeles philanthropists Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker; DreamWorks Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife, Marilyn; and singer Lenny Kravitz. (President Clinton left before the gala began to attend a charity poker tournament, according to an event spokeswoman.)

Earlier on Friday, Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, met with Hollywood showrunners and screenwriters to discuss the Clinton Foundation’s work on early childhood development issues. The conversation was hosted by actor-director Rob Reiner, a longtime friend and supporter.

After stepping down as secretary of State in February, Clinton has been writing a book and delivering a series of speeches around the country, with frequent stops in California. On Saturday, she will be honored by the Mexican-American Leadership Initiative at USC before heading to the Bay Area for two additional events.



Twitter: @MaeveReston



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