DUBAI:British-Moroccan model Mariah Idrissi is set to host a Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) event in New York on Wednesday night.
The event, which is set to honor the most influential people of African descent under the age of 40, will be held at the One UN Millennium Hilton Hotel and will be co-hosted by business mogul and self-described “leadership genius” Vusi Thembekwayo.
The event will also feature a valedictorian speech by Fatima Maada Bio, the first lady of Sierra Leone and an actress, screenwriter and film producer.
Other influential speakers include Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda and chairman of the African Union. Meanwhile, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Atta Annan is set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Recognition.
For her part, Idrissi took to Instagram to express her gratitude toward the organization.
“Honored to be part of a network connecting Africans globally who are creating positive change for people of African heritage. The influence starts with us first changing ourselves and I thank @mipad100 @unitednations and @momentumeducation for providing us with the tools and knowledge to help us become the best versions of ourselves!”
Her co-host took to the social media site to share a friendly message.View this post on Instagram
Honoured to be part of a network connecting Africans globally who are creating positive change for people of African heritage. The influence starts with us first changing ourselves and I thank @mipad100 @unitednations and @momentumeducation for providing us with the tools and knowledge to help us become the best versions of ourselves! Create goals bigger than you and help others along the way. #nyc
“Made a new friend .... actually, built a new family,” Thembekwayo captioned a photo in which he is posting with Idrissi.
The evening will end with a special screening of Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” as the event celebrates the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent.
Born and raised in London, Idrissi is of Moroccan-Pakistani descent and made headlines in 2015 when she became the first model to wear a hijab in a major international fashion campaign, starring in H&M’s “Close the Loop” adverts.
Since then, the 26-year-old has been at the forefront of the modest fashion movement, stylishly representing contemporary Muslim women and working with major retailers including MAC cosmetics and ASOS. She also featured in Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty campaign.
Idrissi has also established herself as an international public speaker promoting female empowerment. Her talk at TEDxTeen in 2016 — “Changing the Face of Fashion” — gained global media attention.
Referring to the feedback from her H&M campaign in that talk, she said, “It made me realize that I’m not only a hijabi model, I’ve also had this weight placed on me as a spokeswoman for hijab, for modesty, for fashion, for Islam… And, of course, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it shows me that we still have a long way to go in changing people’s mentalities.”