For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Phone: (202) 939-5550
(Washington, D.C., September 14, 2012) – On Thursday, September 13, Meridian International Center hosted its first major event in New York City, The Global Leadership Awards Dinner, to honor Ambassador CRAIG R. STAPLETON with the Meridian Global Citizen Award and Secretary CARLOS M. GUTIERREZ with the Meridian Corporate Leader Award. Held at The Waldorf=Astoria hotel, the dinner included Honorary Chairman, President George H. W. Bush; Dinner Chairman, Ambassador Thomas C. Foley; and Vice Chairmen, Under Secretary Christopher B. Burnham and Ambassador Charles L. Glazer, Leon Kalvaria, Secretary Ann McLaughlin Korologos, and Ambassador Tom C. Korologos. The reception and dinner were attended by many diplomats, CEOs, and government leaders. Lead sponsors included Thomas C. Israel of Ingleside Investors and Gordon Gund of Gund Investment Corporation, as well as corporate benefactors, Citigroup, Inc., JP Morgan Chase, Bloomberg, Moët Hennessy, and Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
The Meridian Global Leadership Awards honor global leaders from the government and corporate sectors who harness the power of exchange to better their communities and the world, and enhance the position of the United States as a leader in the international community. As an ongoing series that embodies the organization’s mission, Meridian President and CEO Ambassador Stuart W. Holliday explained: “Cultural exchanges are the heart of Meridian and all its activities. Honorees of Meridian’s Awards are excellent examples of how open dialogue and knowledge of other cultures is the keystone to global leadership and understanding.”
Ambassador Stapleton, Senior Advisor to Stone Point Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut and former Ambassador to France from 2005 to 2009 and to the Czech Republic from 2001 to 2004, was presented with Meridian’s Global Citizen Award for playing an instrumental role in ensuring that key bilateral and multilateral issues were addressed through open dialogue across borders. Secretary Gutierrez, Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group for Citigroup and 35th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, received the Meridian Corporate Leader Award for promoting American business in the U.S. and abroad, and playing a key role in the passage of CAFTA-DR, a landmark agreement that strips away trade barriers, expands export opportunities and boosts hope and opportunity throughout Latin America.
Providing welcome remarks, Ambassador Holliday first offered a respectful and poignant reflection on the recent passing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other Americans who lost in their lives in Libya on September 11, 2012: “These were men and women who worked tirelessly to promote the very best of the United States – to build the relationships and understanding needed for us to engage with the world. Meridian is a partner in these efforts, and today, we reflect on the need for organizations like ours more than ever. We must not see danger and pull back our people-to-people engagement, we must see opportunity to expand it. It can be slow. It often takes generations, but it does work. And for 50 years, Meridian has proven that.”
In testimony of the two honorees’ own character, distinguished service, and accomplishments, Ambassador Holliday commented: “The world needs global leaders like Secretary Gutierrez and Ambassador Stapleton; people who understand the intricacies of interacting with other cultures and ideas. Both awardees exemplify the importance of international understanding and the open exchange of ideas. In today’s world, this ability becomes more necessary every day. Meridian is proud to honor these individuals tonight and their many accomplishments.”
Ambassador Craig R. Stapleton currently holds a number of notable positions: Senior Advisor to Stone Point Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut, President of the Vaclav Havel Foundation in the United States, Lead Director on the Board of Abercrombie and Fitch, Board member of Bancshares, Inc. and Flamel Technologies, and Trustee of the George W. Bush Library and Foundation and the 9/11 Memorial Foundation in New York City. In receiving the Meridian Global Citizen Award, Ambassador Stapleton now includes this award among many other impressive honors, including receiving the Jan Masaryk Medal for service to the Czech Republic and being named Commandeur of the Legion of Honor by President Nicolas Sarkozy in May 2009.
Recipient of the Meridian Corporate Leader Award, Secretary Gutierrez currently holds the position of Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group for Citigroup and serves as a member of its Senior Strategic Advisory Group. Before joining the Bush Administration as United States Secretary of Commerce from 2005 to 2009 under President George W. Bush, Secretary Gutierrez dedicated 30 years to the Kellogg Company, starting as a sales representative in Mexico City, Mexico in 1975 to later lead the company’s assignments in Latin America, Canada, Asia, and the United States before becoming President and CEO in 1999 and Chairman of the Board in April, 2000. As the 35th Secretary of Commerce, Secretary Gutierrez was responsible for a diverse Cabinet agency with some 38,000 workers and a $6.5 billion budget focused on promoting American business and enhancing trade in the U.S. and abroad.
Following a 6:30pm cocktail reception, the evening commenced with opening remarks given by Dinner Chairman Ambassador Tom Foley, who highlighted the awardees’ lives and careers as “impressive examples of the positive impact individual and corporate leaders can have in creating stronger ties and greater understanding between the U.S. and foreign nations. Following dinner, Ambassador Korologos and Ambassador Foley then each introduced Secretary Gutierrez and Ambassador Stapleton prior to the presentation of their respective awards. Ambassador Korologos summarized that “Carlos’s life is a wonderful example of the American Dream come true with his evolution from immigrant to Chairman and CEO of Kellogg Company and the 35th Secretary of Commerce.” Ambassador Foley, good friend to Ambassador Stapleton, congratulated him for “his exceptional commitment to improving relations between nations.” Guests also enjoyed videos which expanded upon the honorees’ lives and many accomplishments.
The honorees join other distinguished leaders who previously received Meridian Awards, including Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State; Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State; Ambassador Nancy Brinker, Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Ambassador Tom Korologos, Strategic Advisor, DLA Piper; Secretary Ann McLaughlin Korologos, Former U.S. Secretary of Labor; and Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup. The September 13 Awards will be followed by a dinner in San Francisco in December 2012 and a dinner in Washington, D.C. in February 2013. For more information, visit: www.meridian.org/awards