Sesame Workshop Annual Benefit Dinner

Sesame Workshop Annual Benefit Dinner

A Celebration of Galli Galli Sim Sim and the Workshop's Programs in India

2008 Gala Photo Slide ShowSesame Workshop held its sixth annual benefit dinner on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at Cipriani 42nd Street. This year's event, hosted by Elmo and CNN's Anderson Cooper, highlighted the Workshop's initiatives in India, home to 128 million children between ages two and six. In 2006, the Workshop created Galli Galli Sim Sim, the local version of Sesame Street, to foster basic life skills and provide educational opportunities where little exist. One out of six children in the world lives in India and the Workshop's local programs and outreach activities continue to make a difference on a scale unique to mass media.

Chamki, Anderson Cooper, and Elmo
Left to right: Chamki, Anderson Cooper, Elmo. © 2008 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Hechler. View the photo slide show to see more pictures from this exciting event.

The dinner honored Michael and Susan Dell with the Global Leadership Award and Richard D. Parsons, Chairman, Time Warner Inc. with the Corporate Leadership Award, for their help addressing the urgent needs of children in India through their incredible financial support of Galli Galli Sim Sim. The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation was established in 1999 by the Dell family to improve outcomes for children living in urban poverty. The Foundation made a significant gift to Galli Galli Sim Sim to develop and implement educational interventions in slum areas in India's six largest cities and to research the effects, providing measurable improvements in children's learning outcomes. The initiative is estimated to reach over 1.5 million children and caregivers. Parsons was recognized for Time Warner's commitment to bringing the popular preschool series to both public and cable television and for his outstanding corporate and civic leadership.

"This year's benefit continues our celebration of Sesame Workshop's 39 years of helping children everywhere," said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. "Whether it's providing preschool education in nations with a local version of Sesame Street, fostering respect and understanding in areas of longtime conflict, reducing gender inequity by encouraging girls to stay in school or supporting families in this country as they cope with the challenges of military deployment, the Workshop is committed to helping children reach their highest potential. We are grateful for the generous support of our partners, Time Warner and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Together we can help millions of children all over the world, one child at a time."

Galli Galli Sim Sim, produced by Sesame Workshop, Turner, and Delhi-based producers Miditech, airs locally on Cartoon Network, POGO and Doordarshan. Originally launched with a phenomenal response in August 2006, the goal of Galli Galli Sim Sim is to encourage learning through exploration and play, and to cultivate basic academic and life skills, all while keeping children entertained. Conceived in India by Indian educators, writers and researchers, it embraces a whole child curriculum incorporating the play way method of learning. The unique appeal of Galli Galli Sim Sim lies in the fun and inspiring philosophy of the program that imparts subliminal learning through positive role models played by the Muppet characters. The series features lovable Muppets named Chamki, Googly, Boombah, and Aanchoo along with a human cast who seek to foster love for learning and appreciation of values among children in the way they understand best!

Chamki, the lead character from Galli Galli Sim Sim, along with Sesame Street's Leela, the newest cast member played by Nitya Vidyasagar, joined Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Grover, Rosita, Zoe and Abby Cadabby, for a special musical appearance at the event.

The proceeds from this benefit help fund the Workshop's mission-driven educational projects for children around the world. While the Workshop's efforts are supported in part from the sales of Sesame Street products, government grants, corporate sponsorships and philanthropic funding, the Sesame Workshop Annual Benefit Dinner helps ensure that these and other programs, created on behalf of children, can continue into the future. View a slide show of photos from the event.