Titans of the financial, technological, and cultural spheres gathered last night at New York's historic Metropolitan Club for the seventh Louise Blouin Foundation awards ceremony and gala, the annual celebration honoring the luminaries whose work provides inspiration for the concurrent Blouin Creative Leadership Summit. This year's laurels, recognizing thought leaders who have made "extraordinary contributions on a global level," were bestowed upon Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim Helú, Nobel Prize-winning economist Edmund Phelps, groundbreaking programmer and Mathematica creator Stephen Wolfram, and the famed married artist duo Emilia and Ilya Kabakov.
Louise Blouin, the founder of the summit and owner of Louise Blouin Media (of which ARTINFO is a part), presented the awards before a black-tie crowd of dignitaries that included heads of state — Icelandic president lafur Ragnar Grímsson and Prince Dmitri of Yugoslavia among them — as well as author Elie Wiesel, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Sotheby's executive Lisa Dennison, Diana Picasso, and U.S. colonel Matthew Bogdanos, who oversaw the investigation of the 2003 looting of Iraq's National Museum. In all, approximately 200 turned out for the festivities, which were jovially presided over by CNN chief business correspondent Ali Velshi, who returned to the event's stage in his capacity as master of ceremonies.
"I believe that the only way we can develop countries is through creativity," Blouin said of the event. "To be truly innovative, we must develop our senses and build the capacity to look and to design and to feel." In receiving his award, Carlos Slim, whose businesses in Mexico have made him the world's richest man, echoed the sentiment, adding that "the work of my foundations is not just a social responsibility, but a personal one."