May 13, NEW YORK, NY – The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations’ (NECO) presented its 2017 Ellis Island Medals of Honor on Sunday, May 13, 2017. Tadia Rice, author, keynote speaker, and business consultant, along with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, TV host and journalist Fareed Zakaria, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Chobani creator Hamdi Ulukaya, PepsiCo chairman/CEO Indra Nooyi, and film studio executive Sherry Lansing were among the 90 honorees.

Rice, a keynote speaker, management consultant, and organizational dynamics expert with a long standing corporate, entertainment, and international relations experience. She is a human-rights activist, promoting diversity, gender equality, and the elimination of racism. Rice also serves on the board of directors of several nonprofit organizations. She founded the Tahirih Association that has educated 22 girls and women around the world who meet the criteria of being agents of change in their communities. She is also committed to Hawaii Maoli, an organization that promotes the social and economic self-sufficiency of native Hawaiian communities. For the last six years she conducted skills-building courses at the Hawaii Women’s Correctional Center that helps inmates increase communication and presentation skills, self-esteem, and confidence.

Recognized for having lived an extraordinary life of generosity to others, Rice has been recognized by the United Nations Association, U.S. Congress, California State Senate, and the cities of Atlanta, Honolulu, and Los Angeles. For her life-long work for human rights, women’s organizations, and international relations, Rice was also invested as a Knight by the philanthropic chivalric Orthodox Order of St. John.

Upon receiving her Medal Rice proudly stated, “I am humbled and grateful for this honor that recognizes service to humanity. To join the many remarkable recipients whom I have long admired is a gift. Whether we are the descendants of Ellis Island immigrants, First Nations people, or African slaves that built America, our generation is called upon to demonstrate the same indomitable courage. Lady Liberty must always welcome others in a spirit of tolerance, unity, and diversity.”

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most renowned awards, recognizing individuals who have made it their mission to share their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents, selfless generosity with those less fortunate, and uphold the ideals and spirit of America. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.

Past recipients have included seven U.S. presidents; Secretaries of State Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton; Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and other notables such as Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Rosa Parks, Lee Iacocca, and Quincy Jones, who have all distinguished themselves through their significant philanthropic and humanitarian contributions to this country.

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To see the full list of 2017 recipients, please visit: