Inside the Albie Awards: George and Amal Clooney’s Inaugural Star-Studded Fête

It’s no secret that George and Amal Clooney are the quintessential power couple, and their latest venture puts their massive celebrity to noble use. Last night in New York City, the Clooneys, cofounders of The Clooney Foundation for Justice, debuted their inaugural Albie Awards, designed to honor courageous defenders of justice across the globe. 

“Tonight the awards are shining a light on justice champions who are doing amazing work in their communities, from Belarus to Kenya to South Africa to Manila—but they’re doing it at great risk,” Amal, dazzling in a head-to-toe gold Versace ensemble, told Vogue. “They’re either facing imprisonment or potential physical harm. We wanted to put them on a stage for the night, so people know what they’re doing, and shine a protective light on them so they can continue their work and hopefully stay safe.” 

The star-studded red carpet took place on the steps of the historic New York Public Library, where numerous large, glass-encased candles created an ethereal pathway guiding guests indoors. One could hear the excited crowd that formed to watch the spectacle shouting the names of their favorite stars in attendance: Donatella Versace, Meryl Streep, Dua Lipa, Julia Roberts, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gayle King, John Krasinski, Cindy Crawford, Jodi Turner-Smith, Charlotte Tilbury, Gemma Chan, Ethan Hawke, and many more. 

“We always say that justice, like war, has to be waged. It’s not something that’s just going to happen. We have to fight for it and continuously pour all of our energy into it. This [event] is an effort to shine a light on these people who are risking everything to fight for justice,” George told Vogue. He added in a bit of his contagious comedic timing when asked who made his classic tuxedo. “I always wear Armani. They’re like family,” he said, laughing.  

Inside, the fête focused on its heroic honorees. Justice Albie Sachs, revered for his commitment to ending apartheid in South Africa and who the award is named after, was given the Lifetime Achievement award. The Justice for Journalists award was bestowed upon Filipino journalist Maria Ressa. iAct, an organization that supports survivors of genocide in refugee camps, received the Justice for Survivors award, and the Belarusian human rights group Viasna earned the Justice for Democracy Defenders award. Finally, Dr. Josephine Kulea, of the Kenya-based organization Samburu Girls Foundation, accepted the Justice for Women award.

“We’ve seen that, in too many places, the people committing the worst crimes and human rights abuses are getting away with it, whereas those reporting on them are behind bars. So we wanted to try through our work to help to change that,” said Amal. “We want to see human rights abuses dealt with so that those responsible are actually held to account. Nobody is above the law, and it’s not something we can do alone. So you have to start somewhere, and we have an amazing community of allies here with us tonight in support.”