L to R: Jack Quinn, Susanna Quinn, Jill Cooper Udall, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Mandy Ourisman, Ambassador Mary Ourisman, Gov. Jim Blanchard, Janet Blanchard, Gwen Holliday and Meridian International President and CEO Stuart Holliday
Friday evening, October 14th, Meridian International Center opened its doors for the 43rd Annual Meridian Ball, Washington's premier gala event. Known for more than 50 years as a principal forum for the advancement of the United States' public and cultural diplomacy efforts, Meridian’s central tenet is global leadership. Through exchanges of key leaders, Meridian has developed a strong and diverse alumni network that includes more than 155 current and former heads of state and government, three Nobel Peace Prize winners, and numerous senior officials from more than 180 countries.
Ball attendees represented a powerful cross-section of the Washington, DC and international communities that Meridian serves. The evening provided an excellent opportunity for people to come together at our historic campus in to celebrate another year of international exchange and strengthened global understanding.
This year, with Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama, Congressional Co-Chairs Jill Cooper Udall and Linda Mays McCaul, Honorary Sponsor Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States; Honorary Benefactor Mayor Vincent C. Gray of the District of Columbia, Ball Chair Ambassador Mary M. Ourisman and White-Meyer Dinner Chair Susanna Quinn, the high-profile event drew more than 750 attendees from public, private, diplomatic, and media sectors. The evening began with formal dinners hosted by 22 ambassadors at their embassies or residences, and a private dinner at Meridian’s White-Meyer House. Following dinner, guests gathered at Meridian House for the black-tie Ball. Luminaries such as Melanne Verveer, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Gail Huff, Michael Chertoff, Regina Benjamin, Fox News’s Ed Henry, CBS’s Nora O’Donnell, ABC’s Jake Tapper, John Hope Bryant, Ed Royce, Susan Blumenthal, Doris Matsui, Carlos Gutierrez, and more than 30 international ambassadors enjoyed dancing and drinks, as well as international desserts based on recipes submitted by 12 participating embassies.
Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday noted, “No other place in Washington, or maybe the world, offers the opportunity for leaders from so many sectors to gather for a night like tonight. Functions like the Meridian Ball, along with the events we present throughout the year, are a crucial platform for building and strengthening relationships and international diplomacy.” The evening perfectly embodies Meridian’s work and mission, having spent the past half-century building bridges between different ideas, people, and cultures, and we look forward to continuing this work for the next 50 years and beyond.
For a full gallery of photos from the Ball please visit: www.meridian.org/ball