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A fashion show--and a fundraiser for refugees

January 15, 2011 |  8:00 am


Just before the Ludus Athletics models began parading down the runway at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Vincent Cochetel, North America’s representative to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, suggested people imagine an area the size of California under 5 to 8 feet of water for two and a half months.

That is the scope, Cochetel said, of last summer's disastrous Pakistan floods, which affected an estimated 20 million people. With Pakistan hosting 1.7 million refugees, primarily from Afghanistan, the U.S. association for UNHCR paired up with Ludus Athletics to raise awareness and funds for these refugees.

"Al Qaeda and the Taliban operate in these areas," said Hamed Wardak, chief executive of Ludus Athletics, speaking at the Wednesday event. "If we don’t get involved to win the hearts and minds of these people, Al Qaeda and the Taliban will." Wardek said proceeds from sales of his new line of T-shirts and yoga pants would go toward relief efforts.

Also attending were Marc Breslaw, USA for UNHCR's executive director; Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan; actress Azita Ghanizada of "General Hospital;" Sonia Nassery Cole, producer of "The Black Tulip" and founder of the Afghanistan World Foundation; and Riffat Masood, Consul General of Pakistan.

To read more about the fashion show and see photos from the event, click here.

--Ellen Olivier

Photo: Afghan actress Mozhdah Jamalzadah, left, poses with Ludus Athletics Chief Executive Hamad Wardak and UN Donor, actress Azita Ghanizada at an event supporting relief efforts for the flood victims in Pakistan at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. A reception by the UN Refugee Agency included a fashion show by Ludus Athletics, which introduced active wear for sale with proceeds going to the relief effort. Credit: Vince Bucci.