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New York's Top Political, Legal & Diplomatic Events 2009

Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner
Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner
Photo: Ryan Brenzier

1. Clinton Global Initiative
In September 2008, the fourth annual meeting of former President Bill Clinton’s philanthropic foundation brought out more than 1,000 world leaders, business executives, and celebrities, including Bill Gates, Tony Blair, and Bono. Held at the Sheraton New York, the meeting covered everything from climate change to poverty, and secured commitments for donations, investments, and volunteer work that the foundation estimated at $8 billion.

2. Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner
Barack Obama and John McCain took a break from the campaign trail in October to laugh it up at this 64-year-old fund-raising event from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The 1,000-plus-person dinner returns to the Waldorf-Astoria on October 15.

3. New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting
About 5,000 local lawyers took over the New York Marriott Marquis from January 26 to 31 for the bar meeting, accompanied by a week of schmooze-filled dinners at venues such as Tavern on the Green, the Harvard Club, and Cipriani Wall Street.

4. U.N.A.-U.S.A Global Leadership Awards Dinner
In October 2008, Michael Douglas hosted the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Association’s annual dinner, which honored champions of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, including rapper Jay-Z, for his MTV documentary about drinking water in Africa. The 500-person dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria raised a record $1.3 million.

5. Hospitality Committee for the U.N. Delegations Ambassador’s Ball
This prestigious diplomatic fund-raiser changed seasons in 2008, moving from December to April. Held at Cipriani 42nd Street, the gala honored American Museum of Natural History president Ellen Futter and NYU president John Sexton.

6. The Inner Circle Show
Mayor Michael Bloomberg traded barbs with the New York Giants’ Eli Manning, while Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani laughed along at the 2008 edition of this long-running satirical event from the Inner Circle of City Hall Journalists. Held at the New York Hilton hotel, the event returns March 28.