Perry was honoured with the organization’s Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award on Tuesday night.
“I have seen Katy’s commitment to the causes she believes in first-hand,” said the former U.S. presidential candidate of the 32-year-old pop star. “I’ve gotten to spend time with her, and I know how deeply she cares about making our world a better place. She is serious about understanding the complex problems we face and pulling people together to solve them.
“We need champions like Katy now more than ever: her passion, her energy and, yes, her voice, louder than a lion,” Clinton said. This was Clinton’s second public appearance since losing the election to Donald Trump on Nov. 9, and she was greeted with a standing ovation.
Perry hugged Clinton upon taking the stage and was brought to tears, according to some audience members.
“Truly my work has just begun, and this award is a starting line, not a finish line,” she added.
Perry has been focusing her efforts on “engaging young people in UNICEF’s work, travelling to some of the poorest and most remote regions in Madagascar and Vietnam to bring awareness to UNICEF’s child protection, education, and health programs.”
Octavia Spencer hosted the event, also attended by Tea Leoni, Maggie Q, Tamron Hall, Brook Burke-Chasrvet and Kyle Maclachlan, among others. The gala dinner, which also honoured Moll Anderson, included performances by the cast of The Color Purple and Sara Bareilles.
Watch Clinton surprise Perry in the video above.