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Heroes and Humanitarians


By Gigi DeMarco

The first annual The Eden Achievement Awards were held on Sunday, December 3, 2017, at the prestigious and historic Beverly Hills Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California.

Over the last eight years at the helm of The Eden Magazine, Maryam Morrison decided it was time to launch the first annual The Eden Achievement Awards.

Morrison was interviewed for this piece and asked how she came up with the idea for this Award.

“The idea for the Award came to me one day while I reflected on just how many fascinating people from all over the world, with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, I have met over the years and continue to meet daily. My job is all about research and discovery. I like to travel and I also like to think outside the box when I am looking for prospective people to feature in my magazine. I am very selective and thorough in my choices and labor through the process with extensive research, discussion and attention to detail.” She went on to say, “The thing I notice time and time again is that most of the prospective candidates have one thing in common, and that is their passion for giving back; the humanitarian aspect of giving back, the love of fellow man, of animals, children, of all creatures, the planet, our neighbor and of our art.”

Morrison said she feels that by creating this Award, she is introducing her readers and people around the world, some heroes and humanitarians who live amongst us, who most people may have not even heard of but who deserve to be recognized and awarded for helping make the world a better place for all. She couldn’t be more proud to be celebrating with so many very deserving winners from all over the world.

The winners of the first annual The Eden Magazine Awards are:

*Marcus Giers, the very first recipient of The Eden Achievement Award, is a Speaker and Brand Expert. He received his award for his charity work in Kenya and Haiti. The award also went to Giers' wife Claudia, who supports and promotes the joint charity projects. "I am immensely proud to be receiving this award today," said Giers. “The Eden Magazine which draws attention to socially engaged personalities as well as to important parts of the world has created a beautiful award to bestow upon us. It's a great honor for me and my wife Claudia to receive this.” Morrison and film producer Tarantino presented Giers with the award.

*Carlo Ponti Jr., who was born in Switzerland to Italian parents, Academy Award-winning Producer Carlo Ponti and Academy Award winner Sophia Loren, is the conductor of the San Bernardino Orchestra. Ponti received the Charity National Award for his social commitment to art and giving back through his music and various charities. The gifts Ponti imparts to young people through teaching music is immeasurable. “Music fosters creativity, teaches cooperation, builds self-esteem, and helps students to stay in school, especially at-risk students,” Ponti said. He then went on to say, "This award is a symbol of recognition for the work we do so that we can continue to engage in social projects to change this world to the positive.”

*Astrid Arens, a well-known neuroscientist from Germany, and known in Europe as “The Voice in the World of Business,” received The Eden Achievement Award for her countless hours of charity work. Arens has supported social projects for children both financially and personally for many years and she has been especially valuable to the helpers of these projects by being on site as a source of strength. Another focus of her social commitment is her extraordinary commitment to Women's Rights. Like the other winners, she also gave an emotional acceptance speech. "Recognizing the need to fight for the rights of children and women, it's an unbelievable honor for me to take this award home," said Arens. The neuroscientist and speaker is a hope for children and a role model for women. She brings "a breath of fresh air into the global economic markets" and turns the image of women and career completely upside down.

*Bruno Serato, originally from San Bonifacio, in Northern Italy, is a celebrity Chef, entrepreneur, and Philanthropist, and was named CNN Hero. He received the Philanthropist Hero Award for his social commitment and fight against poverty and hunger. Morrison presented him with the award that also went to his foundation, Caterina’s Club, named after his late mother, Caterina, which was started by Serato several years ago to feed underprivileged children in southern California. “It was a great honor,” Serato said in his speech. Serato, recently launched his own cookbook, The Power of Pasta, and is donating the proceeds of the sales of his book to Caterina’s Club.

German entrepreneur *Christoph Ulrich Mayer was also one of the recipients of The Eden Magazine Award. Morrison honored this very special person who has great vision and creativity, and whose outstanding patents and successes help people around the world. His goal in life is to leave the world a little better than how he found it. Mayer and his team are working day by day to find solutions that make life easier for people around the world, with scientific achievements and incredible optimism to live healthier lives. Not only has he achieved a number of great successes, but he has also won numerous international awards and his expertise is in demand around the globe to change this world for the better. The Heroes for Children Award went to two very deserving people: *Keith Mitchell who hails from Los Angeles, is a former NFL football star and started The Light It Up Foundation which works with communities, schools, and organizations to introduce mindfulness, meditation, and movement -- with a yoga focus -- first and foremost to children. The foundation also serves to educate first responders, police and doctors, veterans and people who suffer mental disorders. Mitchell also had the honor of going to the White House during the Obama administration to meet President and Michelle Obama.

*Gerhard Matthes, a self-made Entrepreneur from Germany, and philanthropist, who runs a non-profit origination, which teaches, cares, and supplies hot meals to children every day. Through his charity GertiGutperle Foundation, he supplied X-ray machines for the Childcare Center in India, near the town of Nagercoil. Both Mitchell and Mathese received their award for their daily commitment and dedication to children. “The suffering and poverty of the children is an incredible tragedy,” they both said. “Children who live on the margins of society, who are not accepted, are the adults of tomorrow, without success and without future prospects.”

*Marcus Rübbe received an award for his social commitment. Rübbe, a successful entrepreneur, speaker and university lecturer is also a philanthropist. When he is not working, instead of relaxing, Rübbe supports social engagements around the world, visits children in need and helps the poorest of the poor. Some people invest money, others donate time and some donate when needed. Rübbe does everything, invests money and donates a lot of his time. "With my work, I want to encourage others to share with less favored people so that they can live happier and healthier lives."

*Dina Morrone, Italian/Canadian actress, playwright, and voice-over performer, dedicates her time to the Arts. Her passion is theater. Among the many organizations, she is involved with she likes to single out that she sits on the Artistic Board of Theatre West, a non-profit and the longest continually running theater in Los Angeles, and also home to Storybook Theatre, award winning Children’s Theater for the past 35 years. She loves to entertain people by making them laugh. “I like when adults and children walk away from my shows or the theater in general and feel better than they did when they walked it. To make people laugh, move them, or have them take their mind off of things and be transported to another place and time, that is golden and my way of giving back.“ Dina also gives to numerous Charities in the US and Canada as well as other Arts Organizations.

Morrison would like to thank all who helped support the event, those who helped with the planning, the staff at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and all who attended, for making the first annual The Eden Achievement Awards a success.

For more information about the winners or The Eden Achievement Awards please go the website; or

Photography by Randy Tarango

Location Berlin, Germany, Beverly Hills, Calilfornia

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