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Women Bisnow
January 31, 2008



This issue of Washington Women is presented by
Reznick Group:
"Building Business Value"


By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business

An ambulance with Palestinian markings, driven by an Israeli past The Temple Mount on the West Bank may sound like a thing of dreams. And for a long time it was. This past Monday, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter hosted a reception in recognition of the historic Memorandum of Understanding between Magen David Adom and the Palestine Red Crescent Society-the Red Cross equivalents in Israel and Palestine.  Chairman of the Red Cross since 2004 and the first woman ever appointed to the position in the organization's 126-year history, McElveen-Hunter has worn as many hats as Hedda Hopper.


Bonnie in the foyer of her new Watergate penthouse.  She moved in only 10 days ago but already has it decorated.


Co-founder and CEO of Pace Communications, McElveen-Hunter turned an army of one into the nation's largest custom publishing company. After serving as finance chairman for Elizabeth Dole during her 1999 campaign for the Republican nomination for President, she served as ambassador to Finland from 2001-2003. There she led a Women Business Leaders Summit in Helsinki in 2002, followed by a second in Riga in 2004 and a third in 2007 in Amman, Jordan for women from Iraq, Palestine, Syria and other Middle Eastern nations.


June Walker, left, Chairperson of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and former national president of Hadassah, left, with Marla Gilson, Director Washington Action Office, Hadassah.   "I want to tell you, there is a Rambo in this room -she's 4' 11" in high heels," said McElveen-Hunter of Walker. "In a meeting with June Walker, Shalom Tourgeman and Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert, June was John Wayne.  She went in with guns blazing and the Prime Minister felt ambushed by a dynamo. I call her the queen of kings." June, who added that she was only 4' 11" on a good day, says "Hadassah hospitals admit anyone. I've been in a hospital where there was a terrorist in one bed with an armed soldier guarding him, and next door a patient from the explosion he caused. If the terrorist is the worst off, he is treated first. That's the way it is."


Bonnie with local area Red Cross CEO Linda Mathes.


Known for her tireless work to end the exclusion of Magen David Adom from the International Red Cross, Bonnie helped lift the ban in 2006.  "Fifty-eight years of discrimination is over," she declared at the 2007 New York Red Cross Ball in New York. "Perhaps this can open some potential channels to peace." After the historic signing of an agreement in Geneva, five Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances now operate in East Jerusalem. "It is our great hope that this cooperation will serve as an inspiration not just for dialogue but for tangible results that someday will lead to lasting peace.  Sometimes in life it all comes together when you know you have dignity of purpose."

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