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Ethan Allen Kathwari honored by humanitarian group

September 26, 2018

Farooq Kathwari, the president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors, was presented with the Legacy Award by the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants at a gala dinner held last week in Westport.

The institute, known as CIRI, honored Kathwari for what it called his commitment to humanitarian causes, justice and the “plight of displaced people across the world.” Kathwari is a board member of International Rescue Committee and a chairman emeritus of Refugees International.

“As an immigrant myself, I know that everyone who comes to America has the opportunity to contribute and enrich his or her new home,” Kathwari said in a statement. “But no one can succeed alone. CIRI provides the necessary services that new Americans need to start down the path to success.”

The dinner marked CIRI’s 100 years as a champion for refugees, immigrants, survivors of torture, and survivors of human trafficking. It was founded in 1918 as the International Institute of Connecticut.

“Because we believe most Americans value the contributions that immigrants and refugees make to our nation, we continue to fight for their rights in a difficult political climate,” Claudia Connor, CIRI CEO and president, said. “Our mission is to provide comprehensive and compassionate legal and social services for vulnerable foreign-born residents of Connecticut. This mission has never been more essential than it is now.”

Connor said Kathwari is a prime example of how foreign-born Americans have helped to shape the country.

“As a respected business leader, he has grown Ethan Allen into a leading furniture and design company that employs more than 5,000 people in Connecticut and North America,” she said. “He embodies the American dream of building a better life for his family and community and has given back many times over through his nonprofit and charitable work.”

Kathwari emigrated to the United States in 1965 and joined Ethan Allen in 1980. He became president in 1985 and board chair and chief executive officer in 1988.

Earlier this year, Kathwari was named a recipient of the 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

The writer may be reached at cbosak@hearstmediact.com; 203-731-3338

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