Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes

Last night, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented the 2016 International Emmy Founders Award to Shonda Rhimes.

Rhimes accepted the Award at the 44th International Emmy Awards Gala in New York City, at the Hilton ballroom.

“Shonda Rhimes is in a league of her own- not only does she have an entire night of primetime on ABC in the United States, but her groundbreaking shows and iconic characters are avidly followed by over 300 million viewers worldwide, in 67 languages,” said Academy President & CEO, Bruce L. Paisner.

“I am continually amazed by the global reach of television and have been so fortunate to have fans of my shows around the world,” said Rhimes. “To be recognized for this by the International Television Academy is truly an honor.”

Rhimes stepped to the podium and gave a brief, timely speech as she addressed the concerns many have about the incoming administration and television’s role in aiding to temper public unease, although she never cited President-Elect Donald Trump by name.

“It’s times like this that I’m reminded how big a reach television has. It’s likely the most powerful source of communication in the world,” she said. “We sit with you in your homes. You spend more hours with many of my characters than you do with your own family. You see their faces. I tell their stories and you care.”

“People of color, any woman who values her body and her choices. LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, people of disability,” she continued. “They’re afraid their voices will no longer be heard; they believe they’re being silenced.”

Rhimes noted the “enormous responsibility” of reaching hundreds of millions of viewers in 67 countries. “Words have power. TV has power. My pen has power,” she said, although admitted that she hadn’t given as much consideration to her influence in the past.

“I’m thinking about that,” she added. “We hope, you hope. We dream you dream. We rise, you rise. We fall, you fall.”

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a membership based organization comprised of leading media and entertainment figures from over 60 countries and 500 companies from all sectors of television.