LIRS to Host Walk of Courage Award Gala, Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Be Honored

For Immediate Release
September 6, 2016

Press Contacts:
Miji Bell; 410-230-2841
Michelle Blundell; 202-478-6176

WASHINGTON, DC – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) will host its annual Walk of Courage Award Gala on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 6:00pm, at the Capitol View at 400, located at 444 North Capitol Street NW in Washington D.C. The Gala will celebrate the benefits that migrants and refugees bring to our communities.

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Madeleine Albright, will be honored with the Walk of Courage Award for her outstanding career achievements and her lifetime commitment to furthering equality for all people. Born to Czech parents, she became the United States’ first female Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton in 1997, and has paved the way for both women and immigrants throughout her life. Since leaving office, Albright has continued to be an advocate for world justice. She is the Founder and Chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington, DC based global business strategy firm. Dr. Albright has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Public Service Award. She currently serves on the boards of the Aspen Institute and the Center for American Progress.

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, former presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will also be recognized with the Walk of Faith Award for his career of service to the Lutheran community. The ELCA is the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination. Rev. Hanson was ordained in 1974 and has since served as a pastor for three Minnesota congregations, a Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod, and as the President of the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva. A tireless advocate for migrants and refugees. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg College.

Master of Ceremonies for the event will be Joseph Lewis, a former refugee from Liberia and now police officer in Washington, D.C. He is also a former LIRS Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy participant.

The keynote speaker for the Gala will be Washington, DC based journalist and former refugee Omar Al-Muqdad, who fled Syria, and was granted asylum to the United States in 2012.

The Gala is open to the public. Early bird general seating tickets are $175 per person, increasing to $200 after September 16, 2016. Premium seating tickets are $400, which includes a private cocktail reception with LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke and the evening’s award recipients.

For additional information regarding tickets or sponsorship opportunities, visit the 2016 Gala website at or call 410-230-2766.


Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.