On Wednesday, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding presented an award to Russian fashion designer Helen Yarmak in New York.
The foundation has recognized entrepreneurs, lawyers, cultural figures and scientists for their contributions to the development of international relations and religious and ethnic understanding for 15 years. Yarmak is the first Russian to be recognized by the foundation.
Yarmak, who has a fashion boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York, has become an ambassador of Russian culture to the United States. Celebrities like Jack Nicholson, Goldie Hawn, Jim Carrey, Anna Kournikova, David Copperfield and Kate Hudson are her clients.
"We build bridges among peoples," the fashion designer said receiving the award. "Culture arrives first, followed by politics. The U.S. and Russia are two great countries, and for this reason they are duty-bound to have good mutual understanding." Rabbi Marc Schneier, one of the founders of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, highlighted Helen Yarmak's charity work in Russia and the United States. The fashion designer recently gave a unique white-mink fur coat to the New York Fire Department's union. The proceeds from the sale, about $18,000, went to a charity that helps the widows and children of those killed in the World Trade Center attacks.