Meridian International Center to Honor Silicon Valley’s Original Venture Capitalist, William H. Draper, and Visa Inc. Executive Chairman, Joseph Saunders, at the Meridian Global Leadership Awards in San Francisco – December 11, 2012

December 6, 2012

Media Contact: Monique McSween | Phone: (202) 939-5882


San Francisco, CA – On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, Meridian International Center will honor two of the Bay Area’s most distinguished leaders – Hon. William H. Draper, III, Managing Director, Draper Richards L.P. and Joseph W. Saunders, Executive Chairman, Visa Inc. The Leaders will be honored at the Meridian Global Leadership Awards, which will be held at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in downtown San Francisco.

The Meridian Global Leadership Awards reception and dinner will be chaired by Janet Lamkin, President of Bank of America, California and Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President of Charles Schwab Foundation; with lead sponsors Visa Inc., Bank of America Corporation, Dignity Health, and Wells Fargo & Company.

Several high-profile leaders are expected to attend including, Hon.Willie Brown, former Mayor of San Francisco, who is a member of the Meridian Global Leadership Awards Honorary Committee. Other members of the event’s Honorary Committee include Hon. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State; Hon. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA); Hon. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Hon. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Hon. Dennis J. Herrera, City Attorney of San Francisco; Hon. Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California; and Jim Wunderman, Chairman and CEO of the Bay Area Council.

The Meridian Global Leadership Awards series honors global leaders from the public and private 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.

Hon. William H. Draper, III, Managing Director of Draper Richards L.P., will receive the Meridian Global Citizen Award. Mr. Draper, one of America’s first venture capitalists, is being awarded for his career of international engagement in business, philanthropy, and government service. Mr. Draper is former President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and former Head of the United Nations Development Program. Through those roles, Mr. Draper has helped redefine models for international investment, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship. Organizations such as Kiva, Taproot, and Global Heath Corps have benefited from his programs. Through his business career, he has helped start some of the world’s most influential and innovative companies with a focus on technology as a way to connect people and ideas. He has also been instrumental in creating paths for mentorship and growth for start-up companies throughout the United States. Mr. Draper is the author of “The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs.”

Joseph W. Saunders, the Executive Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer of Visa Inc., will receive the Meridian Corporate Leader Award. Internationally regarded as one of the most innovative businessmen of his generation, Mr. Saunders is being awarded for his deep commitment to corporate citizenship and philanthropy; and his devotion to supporting and empowering a new generation of leaders. Mr. Saunders was instrumental in Visa’s partnership with Meridian International Center and the U.S. Department of State, for the creation of Volunteerism: United We Serve. This exchange program brought 103 civil leaders from 95 countries to the United States in April 2010, to understand the importance of service and volunteerism in creating a strong civil society. Under Mr. Saunders’ leadership, Visa has focused on fostering economic reliance among low-income individuals and communities, primarily through financial literacy and access to finance. Visa is also involved in electronic banking campaigns which benefit residents of Uganda, Nicaragua, Mexico, Brazil, East Africa and India. Mr. Saunders is also Chairman of the Board of Teach For All.

WHAT: The Meridian Global Leadership Awards
WHEN: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Reception – 6:30 p.m. | Dinner – 7:15 p.m.
WHERE: The Julia Morgan Ballroom
465 California Street | San Francisco, CA 94104
CONTACT: For interviews or inquiries: Monique McSween
(P) 202-939-5882 |

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About Meridian International Center
Headquartered in Washington D.C., Meridian International Center is a leading non-partisan, public diplomacy institution dedicated to strengthening international understanding and global engagement. Meridian works with the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies worldwide to create lasting international partnerships through leadership and cultural exchanges. Meridian also connects U.S. and foreign governments with the private sector to respond to global challenges and sustain impact.

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