Over 3,000 Target the Eradication of Global Poverty at Partnership Walk at Santa Monica Pier

Pictures above: Glimpses of the Partnership Walk at Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles , CA : Over 3,000 participants alongside 400 volunteers turned out for the 15 th Annual Partnership Walk at the Santa Monica Pier. The Walk is an initiative of Aga Khan Foundation USA (AKF USA) to raise awareness and funds to alleviate global poverty and promote partnership between America and the developing world. 

Over $300,000 was raised at the charity event.  100% of the proceeds from Partnership Walk go directly to the projects supported by the Aga Khan Foundation USA. The cost of organizing Partnership Walk is completely underwritten by the AKF USA and in-kind contributors; not a single cent is spent on administrative costs.

Los Angeles was the first city to launch Partnership Walk 15 years ago. This year, nationwide, over 30,000 are expected at Partnership Walk events being held in nine cities, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Orlando and San Francisco. In addition to individual participants, scores of teams from corporations, universities, schools and community organizations will also be walking to take a step to end global poverty.

Partnership Walk was kicked off with an Opening Ceremony at which several civic and community leaders were in attendance. This year’s Guest of Honor, Dean James G. Ellis, USC Marshall School of Business delivered the keynote address.  He noted that “when we talk about partnerships in action, one plus one can equal three, not only two. I know they don’t teach you that in school, but it does work that way sometimes. Partnership with governments, with corporations, with individuals and foundations can help make things happen so much better.”

Another prominent speaker was Los Angeles Councilman and former LAPD Chief Bernard Parks who was the recipient of a Special Recognition Award for his continuous support of Partnership Walk for the past seven years.  He stated that “the best way that we can impact poverty anywhere in the world is education. To give people the tools that allow them to get themselves into the position to do better for themselves and their family is as fundamental as you can get. When we look at poverty in the city of Los Angeles or in Santa Monica there are some very obvious issues such as homelessness and other issues. But when you go to Third World countries, that is real poverty. That’s where people are living 50, 60 or 70 years behind the mainstream when it comes to basic needs of fresh water, food and things of that nature. For making an impact on those poorest parts of the world, you should all be commended.”

 Pam O’Connor, Mayor Pro Tem of Santa Monica graced the event.  She noted, “We are here with you in partnership working to provide livable conditions to people of all income levels. It gives us great pleasure to stand side by side with each one of you here at Partnership Walk. The City of Santa Monica supports the same vision that you all are supporting. Just like you, we believe that every human being has the right to live a life of dignity.”

Muizz Kheraj, Chairman of the AKF USA Volunteer Team for the Western Region, welcomed the crowd with a reminder that this effort makes a lasting and profound impact on the lives of millions by investing in people. Aziz Valliani, Chairman of the AKF USA National Committee, addressed the participants and thanked the City for hosting the Walk for the first time at the world famous Santa Monica Pier.

Other prominent dignitaries included Edward Alpers, Professor of History and former Dean at UCLA; Matt Dababneh, District Chief of Staff for Congressman Brad Sherman; Farhana Mohamed, Pakistani American Forum and Merit Grants for Young Women; Syed Ibne Abbas, Consul General of Pakistan; Douglas Becker, Coordinator of Peace and Conflict Studies at USC; and Elsham Baloghlanov, Vice Consul General of Azerbaijan. The Superintendent of the Santa Monica Unified School District, Tim Cuneo.


The Santa Monica High School Marching Band kicked off the Walk along the scenic route through Palisades Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Participants had the unique opportunity to experience, first hand, the inspirational “Global Village in Action,” an interactive and educational exhibit aimed at raising awareness about how the Foundation’s programs are making a real difference in the developing world.  Following the Walk to End Global Poverty, a stage program took place on the Pier with entertainment featuring live music and dance performances. Famed LA Band “Naked Rhythm” and the “Bollywood Dance Group” performed in addition to the Santa Monica Choir Chamber Singers, Cirque du Soleil and the Laker Girls. 

For further information, please contact: Ms. Martha Sipple, Communication & Public Affairs Officer, AKF USA (202) 293-2537 or cell: (202) 203-0838  msipple@akfusa.org




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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