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New York's Top Political, Legal, and Diplomatic Events 2008

The Clinton Global Initiative
The Clinton Global Initiative
Photo: Courtesy of the Clinton Global Initiative
1. Clinton Global Initiative
For the fourth year in a row, heads of state, C.E.O.s, activists, academics, philanthropists, business leaders, and celebrities will congregate at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers for this three-day event, which will take place in September. Last year, the conference hosted 1,300 attendees, including 50 heads of state, attributing 245 pledges to the global charity campaigns spearheaded by former President Bill Clinton. Five Currents will produce the 2008 event.2. Al Smith Dinner
For more than 60 years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has hosted this fund-raising event, formerly known as the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. In presidential election years, the dinner has traditionally featured addresses from the Democratic and Republican nominees, although the event has taken somewhat of a lower profile in recent years, and in 2004 did not invite George W. Bush or John Kerry, citing the caustic political atmosphere. In 2007, 1,100 guests turned out to hear former British prime minister Tony Blair speak. The 63rd annual dinner will be held this year on October 16 at the Waldorf-Astoria. Organizers plan to invite the presidential nominees.

3. New York State Bar ­Association Annual Meeting
This annual event attracts more than 5,000 New York State Bar ­Association members for a week of classes, panel discussions, meetings, and dinners. The 2008 event was held at the Marriott Marquis from January 28 to February 2.

4. Hospitality Committee for the U.N. ­Delegations Ambassador’s Ball
For a change, the diplomatic scene’s most prestigious fund-raiser will be held in April this year, instead of in December. Ball chair Nassrin Iromloo Zahedi will produce the international affair.

5. U.N.A.-U.S.A. Global Leadership Awards Dinner

The United Nations Association’s annual dinner salutes individuals who have shown leadership as proponents of the U.N. Charter. The event is attended by upward of 600 guests, with broad representation from the business and diplomatic communities, including ambassadors and senior U.N. officials. At Cipriani Wall Street in October 2007, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan and Susan Arnold, president of Procter & Gamble’s Global Business Units, were honored for their global humanitarian efforts. Paul E. Robinson, U.N.A.’s events manager, will produce the dinner in 2008.

6. The Inner Circle Show
This long-running satirical musical event, run by the Inner Circle of City Hall Journalists, raises money for local charities and gives big-shot politicians a chance to go for laughs. Mayor Bloomberg will return in 2008, after appearing last year alongside the Broadway cast of Mary Poppins. The year’s show will take place March 15 at the New York Hilton Hotel.