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2022 Summit

Washington, D.C.

An extraordinary array of eminent achievers gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 54th International Achievement Summit in September and December of 2022.

After a two-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the American Academy of Achievement inducted three new members at an intimate dinner and awards ceremony held at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, California, in mid-December of 2021. The awards ceremony was hosted by Academy Awards Council member and Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Frances Arnold and Catherine B. Reynolds, the Founder and Chairman of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation.

December 2021: Dr. Keith L. Black, honoree Dr. Katalin Karikó, co-inventor of the modified mRNA technology used in Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection, honoree Dr. Ardem Patapoutian, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, honoree Dr. Andrea M. Ghez, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Awards Council member Dr. Frances Arnold, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Academy Vice-Chairman Catherine B. Reynolds, during an Academy of Achievement Awards Dinner held at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles.

Dr. Arnold introduced the honorees and summarized their accomplishments. The Golden Plate Award was presented to Dr. Andrea M. Ghez for “unlocking the secrets of the universe” by locating a massive black hole in the heart of the Milky Way, which earned her the Nobel Prize in Physics.

December 2021: Awards Council member and Nobel laureate Dr. Frances Arnold presents the Golden Plate Award to Dr Katalin Kariko, a biochemist and researcher, best known for her contributions to mRNA technology and the COVID-19 vaccines during an Academy of Achievement Awards Dinner held at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles.

The Golden Plate was presented to Dr. Ardem Patapoutian for “identifying the previously unknown class of proteins in living cells that register pressure” – the sense of touch – which was recognized by the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine, and Dr. Katalin Karikó for developing messenger RNA vaccines that prevented more than 10 million hospitalizations and saved over 2 million lives during the recent Covid-19 pandemic, and earned her the 2021 Lasker Award for medical research, the highest honor in American medicine.

September 9, 2022: Academy member Jimmy Page, the legendary guitarist and founder of Led Zeppelin, and poet and performer Scarlett Sabet present their spoken word album Catalyst at a dinner hosted by Academy member and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Catherine Reynolds in the Members Room in the Library of Congress.

The three honorees responded at the awards presentation ceremony by enthralling the Academy members on the long journey and personal perseverance that led to their breakthrough discoveries after decades of doubt and resistance within the scientific community.

September 9, 2022: Academy of Achievement members and guests enjoy dinner in the Members Room hosted by Academy member and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Catherine B. Reynolds in the Library of Congress.

The 2022 Achievement Summit was held in Washington, D.C., and began with a dinner and presentation in the historic Members Room at the Library of Congress on September 9, hosted by Academy member and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Catherine B. Reynolds. Carla Hayden welcomed the Academy members and guests, including the new class of White House Fellows, to the dinner. The ceremony’s highlight was a multimedia presentation on creativity by Academy member Jimmy Page, the legendary guitarist and founder of Led Zeppelin and poet and performer Scarlett Sabet, on their spoken word album Catalyst.

September 11, 2022: A dinner in honor of Jimmy Page at The Inn at Little Washington, prepared by famed chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell. (L-R) Senator Mitch McConnell, chef Patrick O’Connell, and Secretary Elaine Chao; Catherine and Wayne Reynolds release lanterns as Patrick O’Connell looks on; Patrick O’Connell and Jimmy Page.

The album was written and performed by Scarlett Sabet and produced by Jimmy Page to “emphasize the power of the spoken word in the context of poetry and present her work in a radical form.” A question-and-answer session followed the dinner. Among the Academy members in attendance were Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Steven Rosenberg, Martine Rothblatt, and Steve Case.

September 12, 2022: The 54th International Achievement Summit’s Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies were held in the historic Luce Foundation Center of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The Summit program continued with a dinner in honor of Jimmy Page at The Inn at Little Washington, prepared by famed chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell. The Inn, which exemplifies culinary excellence, is situated in the Virginia countryside in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Shenandoah National Park.

September 12, 2022: Summit Host Catherine B. Reynolds, Mrs. Mary Kennedy, and Academy Awards Council member Justice Anthony M. Kennedy at the National Portrait Gallery’s Luce Foundation Center in Washington, D.C.

The Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies were held in the historic Luce Library of The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The Academy members enjoyed a reception in The Great Hall, the location of President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball on March 6, 1865. The ball took place as Lincoln’s second term began, with the Civil War in its final stages, and only six weeks before Lincoln was assassinated at nearby Ford’s Theatre.

The Banquet of the Golden Plate awards presentations were moderated by broadcast journalists Bret Baier, Fox News Chief Political Anchor (shown above), and Academy member and CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer at the National Portrait Gallery’s Luce Center in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Catherine B. Reynolds, the Summit Host, opened the Banquet ceremonies, invoking the memory of President Lincoln, perhaps the greatest President in our nation’s history. Catherine Reynolds concluded her welcoming remarks by stating, “Tonight, in honor of President Lincoln’s example, his vision, his hope, his determination, we celebrate the power of individual achievement.”

The Washington Chamber Orchestra performs Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man at the Golden Plate Award ceremonies at Luce Center in the National Portrait Gallery during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

The Academy guests were serenaded by the Washington Chamber Orchestra as they watched a video presentation summarizing the extraordinary achievers who have participated in the Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies over the past six decades.

Newly inducted members of the American Academy of Achievement: MIT economists Dr. Abhijit Banerjee and Dr. Esther Duflo, co-recipients of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences, and Stanford University President Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne at a reception at the Top of the Hay of The Hay-Adams in Washington, D.C., at the 2022 Summit.

The Banquet Awards presentations were moderated by broadcast journalists Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Bret Baier of Fox News.

Awards Council members Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Brett Kavanaugh present the Golden Plate Award to Justice Amy Coney Barrett at the 2022 Banquet of the Golden Plate awards ceremonies in Washington, D.C.

The first Academy inductees of the evening were the husband-and-wife economists from MIT, Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, and Dr. Esther Duflo, who earned the Nobel Prize for their approaches to alleviating global poverty. Their Golden Plate was presented by Academy members Anthony Romero and Dr. Martin Rothblatt.

The Banquet of the Golden Plate awards presentations were moderated by broadcast journalists Bret Baier, Fox News Chief Political Anchor, and Academy member and CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer (shown above), at the National Portrait Gallery’s Luce Center in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Brett Kavanaugh presented the Golden Plate Award to Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Her Academy introduction recognized “her sharp intellect and deep faith” as the fifth woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

Three Pulitzer Prize Winners: Awards Council members A. Scott Berg and Rick Atkinson present the Golden Plate Award to Yale Professor of History David W. Blight at the Banquet of the Golden Plate during the 2022 Summit.

Pulitzer Prize recipient and Yale Professor of History David Blight was presented with his Golden Plate Award by Academy members and Pulitzer Prize historians A. Scott Berg and Rick Atkinson. Professor Blight was lauded by the Academy for “devoting himself to the study of the abiding questions of our national memory – slavery, abolition, Civil War, civil rights and Reconstruction.”

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, General David H. Petraeus, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., USAF, the chief of staff of the Air Force, at a reception in the Grand Hall of the Luce Foundation Center in the National Portrait Gallery during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

The fourth Golden Plate Award was presented to General Charles Q. Brown, USAF, the first African American to be Air Force Chief of Staff and to lead any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The induction into the Academy was made by General Joseph W. Ralston, USAF, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Academy Awards Council members Theodore B. Olson, the former Solicitor General of the United States, and defense attorney Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr., present the Golden Plate Award to Congressman James E. Clyburn, the Majority Whip and the third-ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies at Luce Center during the 2022 International Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Jim Clyburn received the next Golden Plate Award in tribute to his 15 terms in the U.S. Congress as a beacon for justice, opportunity, and public service, most recently as The House Majority Whip. The Golden Plate was presented by Awards Council members and legendary defense counsels Brendan V. Sullivan and Theodore Olson.

Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track and field athlete in Olympic history and Congressman James E. Clyburn, the Majority Whip and the third-ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate at Luce Center, National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 Summit.

The evening’s sixth Golden Plate was presented to eleven-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix in recognition of her extraordinary career on and off the track. As the most decorated American track and field athlete in Olympic history. Allyson Felix “lends her voice to speak out on the Black mortality rate and the inequalities facing Black pregnant women.” The Golden Plate was presented by Awards Council member Dr. Benjamin Carson.

Awards Council members Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, the chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute, and Dr. Peter C. Agre, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, present the Golden Plate Award to Dr. William G. Kaelin, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate awards ceremonies at Luce Center in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Dr. William G. Kaelin, Jr. was recognized by the Academy for research on “how cells serve and adapt to oxygen availability which may lead to new treatments for diseases like cancer.” Dr. Kaelin, a Harvard Professor of Medicine, has earned many honors, including the Nobel Prize in Medicine. His award was presented by Nobel laureate Dr. Peter Agre and Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute.

Academy delegate alumni and Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, Jimmy Page, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and Stanley Kroenke at the Banquet of the Golden Plate at historic Luce Center, National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Entrepreneur and sportsman E. Stanley Kroenke was presented the Golden Plate Award as a successful real estate developer and owner of the Los Angeles Rams, 2022 Super Bowl Champions, and the Colorado Avalanche, 2022 Stanley Cup hockey champions. Stan Kroenke’s award was bestowed by Awards Council member Jimmy Page, founder of Led Zeppelin.

Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Gordon Lightfoot performs  If You Could Read My Mind, accompanied by the Washington Chamber Orchestra at the Banquet of the Golden Plate at the 2022 Summit in Washington, D.C.

The ninth award of the evening was extended to the internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. You can hear the rhythm and the longing in his lyrics. The award was presented by Dr. Andrew Weil. Gordon Lightfoot went on to perform his iconic song “If You Could Read My Mind” for the Academy guests, accompanied by the Washington Chamber Orchestra.

Awards Council member and Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., presents the Golden Plate Award to Senator Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving Senate Republican Leader in American history, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate awards ceremonies at Luce Center, National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. during the 2022 Summit.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell was presented the Golden Plate Award as Kentucky’s longest-serving senator with a record seven terms and the Senate Republican Leader. Awards Council member Cal Ripken, Jr., legendary Baltimore Orioles shortstop and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, bestowed the award.

Awards Council member Elaine Chao, the former U. S. Secretary of Transportation and former U. S. Secretary of Labor, and Dr. Shuji Nakamura, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate at Luce Center, National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Dr. Shuji Nakamura, earned his Golden Plate Award as “the inventor of the blue LED, the breakthrough that led to the power-efficient screens used in television, computer monitors and smartphones.” His award was presented by Academy member and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Susan and Terry Ragon at a reception at the Banquet of the Golden Plate in the Grand Hall of Luce Foundation Center in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Awards Council members and Academy Patrons Jim Breyer and Lee Ainslie presented the twelfth Golden Plate of the evening to entrepreneur and philanthropist Terry Ragon.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith receives the Golden Plate Award presented by Academy Awards Council member and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Lynn Nottage at the Banquet of the Golden Plate awards ceremonies during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and two-time Poet Laureate of the United States, received her Golden Plate from Awards Council member Lynn Nottage, recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama.

Two newly inducted Academy members: Stanley Kroenke, owner of the Los Angeles Rams, the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, and the U.K.’s Arsenal soccer club and Marc Tessier-Lavigne, the President of Stanford University at a reception at the Banquet of the Golden Plate held in the historic Luce Center at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 International Achievement Summit.

Awards Council member Justice Anthony Kennedy returned to the stage for the presentation of the Golden Plate Award to Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of Stanford University. His award citation read: “His mind and abilities are wide-ranging. From an eminent professor in the study of brain development and repair…to biotech executive overseeing 1,400 scientists…to the leader of one of the world’s most renowned universities, he is charged with the electricity of ideas and thoughts.”

Honoree Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of Chobani, with Academy Awards Council member and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad at the Banquet of the Golden Plate during the 2022 Summit in Washington, D.C.

The 15th award of the program was given to Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and chairman of Chobani. The developer of America’s leading Greek yogurt, he popularized this style of yogurt in the United States. Also a champion of humanitarian efforts for refugees, his honor was presented by Awards Council member Nadia Murad, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Academy Awards Council members Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel, and biomedical engineer and MIT Institute Professor Dr. Robert S. Langer present the Golden Plate Award to Dr. Drew Weissman, co-inventor of the modified mRNA technology used in Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines to prevent COVID-19, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate awards ceremonies during the 2022 International Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C.

The next Golden Plate Award was presented to Dr. Drew Weissman, who persevered through years of setbacks – alongside Academy member Katalin Karikó – to pioneer messenger RNA technology, the “process that has revolutionized vaccine development and is the backbone of coronavirus vaccines.” This groundbreaking University of Pennsylvania researcher received his Golden Plate from Awards Council members Robert Langer and Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Dr. Maria T. Zuber, E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and Vice President for Research at MIT and co-chair of The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, receives the Golden Plate Award presented by Academy Awards Council member and former NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins at the Banquet of the Golden Plate awards ceremonies in historic Luce Center, National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during the 2022 Summit.

The final award of the Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies was bestowed upon the Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Dr. Maria Zuber. The head of Research at MIT, she was presented with the Golden Plate by Awards Council member Dr. Francis Collins, the former Director of the National Institutes of Health.

2022: Academy Awards Council member Denyce Graves performs “Habanera” from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen accompanied by the Washington Chamber Orchestra and The Festival Chorus at the Banquet of the Golden Plate.

At the close of this year’s Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies, Academy members were treated by a performance by Awards Council member and internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves.

2022: Academy Awards Council member Denyce Graves performs “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in tribute to the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln, accompanied by the Washington Chamber Orchestra and The Festival Chorus at the Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies at the historic Luce Center in the National Portrait Gallery.

She sang the “Habanera” from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen, accompanied by the Washington Chamber Orchestra and The Festival Chorus. Denyce Graves concluded the program with a stirring rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in tribute to the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.

Awards Council member Justice Anthony M. Kennedy addresses Academy members and guests at the Banquet of the Golden Plate at the historic Luce Center in the National Portrait Gallery at the 2022 Summit in Washington, D.C.

Justice Anthony Kennedy concluded the evening with remarks on the importance of democracy and civil discourse. “We’re here tonight because we have a shared sincerity. We share the same sincerity in wanting to celebrate with the Academy and with Wayne and Catherine. And we want to celebrate freedom. Of course, we have the first obligation to defend freedom, as our distinguished military leaders here remind us by their splendid careers. But freedom also requires us, and this is the sincerity that we share this evening, to celebrate our freedom. And as Wayne and Catherine know, one way to celebrate our freedom is by appreciating art and architecture. And so, this dinner reminds us that one of the things that we’re sincere about celebrating is the art and the beauty that this country, that this nation, that this Constitution, that this system of ours, has been able to produce. And the Reynolds always remind us of that. And they remind us, too, that one of the great hallmarks of freedom is the concord that we have with each other from different views, from different perspectives, but we appreciate each other’s dignity. We appreciate others being persons who, by nature, are entitled to dignity and respect. And this is what the Academy has done. And so, we celebrate freedom by the respect and the enjoyment that we have for each other. For you who are new to the Academy, the honorees, you will be able to do this for many years, just as Mary has joined me in doing it for so many years. You have many, many years to look ahead to being members of this Academy, which is one of the most distinguished institutions in all the United States.”

December 12, 2022: Dinner at the Academy in Washington, D.C., on the eve of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

On December 12, on the eve of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Academy hosted a dinner and awards ceremony at the Academy of Achievement headquarters in Washington, D.C. They hosted ten African heads of state and inducted seven extraordinary achievers into the Academy’s Class of 2022. Awards Council member Wolf Blitzer introduced the honorees and summarized their accomplishments.

December 12, 2022: Awards Council member Marian Wright Edelman, an activist for civil rights and the founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund, presents Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian, with the Golden Plate Award, at an awards ceremony held at the Academy headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The first Golden Plate Award was presented to Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture and the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. His introduction read, “The eye of the curator is to see, to reveal, the objects that give life to history. As a boy, he sat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, when white hands swooped down and placed him in the colored section. As a museum director, he acquired this very same counter where four college students famously staged a sit-in to protest racial segregation.”

December 12, 2022: Awards Council member Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore Orioles Baseball Hall of Famer, presents William J. Burns, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, with the Golden Plate Award in Washington, D.C.

The second Golden Plate was presented to William J. Burns, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. His introduction read, “He speaks English, French, Russian and Arabic. But at a dinner party don’t expect him to say much…because, well, he is a spy. As if he wasn’t discreet enough as a decorated career diplomat, he now oversees our nation’s intelligence collection, covert action, and counterintelligence.”

December 12, 2022: Awards Council member Senator Mitch McConnell presents Senator Susan Collins from Maine with the Golden Plate Award at an awards ceremony held at the Academy headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The third Golden Plate was presented to Senator Susan Collins. Her introduction read, “The most famous daughter of Caribou, Maine, the furthermost Northeastern city in the United States…population 7,396…snowfall 118” a year. She felt a sense of community at an early age…her school would close for three weeks in the fall so students could help harvest the potato crop before the freeze set in. From potatoes to politics…elected five times to the U.S. Senate and ranked the most bipartisan member of that body.”

December 12, 2022: Awards Council member Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano opera singer, presents television host, producer, and comedian Steve Harvey with the Golden Plate at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The fourth Golden Plate was presented to television host, producer, actor, and comedian, Steve Harvey. His introduction read, “Achievement. The stuttering son of a coal miner and a Sunday school teacher went on to become a salesman, carpet cleaner and mail carrier before a leap of faith allowed him to become a comedian, he followed his dream and kept his faith even as he fell into homelessness and as a result he went on to become a successful comedian, award-winning TV star, astute producer, transformative businessman and investor, philanthropist and humanitarian who donated 7 tons of personal protective equipment to Covid-stricken Botswana. The first American to adapt a hit U.S. TV show in Africa that went on to become the number one television program in South Africa and Ghana.”

December 12, 2022: Awards Council members Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Justice Anthony Kennedy present Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson with the Golden Plate Award at the Academy headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The fifth Golden Plate was presented to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Her introduction read, “An aunt, serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa, sent the girl’s parents a list of African names. Ketanji Onyika means “lovely one.” Based on the girl’s later achievements, the name also came to mean: smart one…determined one…accomplished one…distinguished one. Harvard magna cum laude, Harvard Law magna cum laude, Harvard Board of Overseers. The first black female justice of U.S. Supreme Court.”

December 12, 2022: President Paul Kagame presents Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, with the Golden Plate Award.; President Paul Kagame presents Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, with the Golden Plate Award at the Academy headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The sixth Golden Plate was presented to Director-General of the WTO Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Her introduction read, “Her honors and accomplishments are as varied and many as the colors of an African cloth. This daughter of Nigeria, born into the Obahai royal family of Ogwashi-Ukwu, does not wear a crown. Her mantle of authority are economic degrees from Harvard and MIT; positions as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and Foreign Minister, and as Managing Director of the World Bank. The first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General of the World Trade Organization.” The seventh Golden Plate was presented to the President of Senegal and Chairman of the African Union, Macky Sall. His introduction read, “Trained as a geological engineer and geophysicist, this honoree’s knowledge of humanity’s African homeland goes deep into the Earth. He understands the igneous structure and the molten history that lie below the baobab and the thorn bushes, beneath the savanna and the rainforest. As a public servant, he understands the burning hopes and needs of the people who today walk atop this diverse continent.”

December 12, 2022: Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General holding the post of High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), presents African heads of state with the Outstanding African Leadership Award, including Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the President of Mauritania, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, at the Academy of Achievement headquarters in Washington, D.C.

After the Golden Plate Awards presentation, Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, presented ten African heads of state with the Outstanding African Leadership Award.

December 12, 2022: Academy member and musical icon Diana Ross performs her most beloved songs, including “I’m Coming Out,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Stop in the Name of Love.”

At the close of the awards ceremonies, Academy members were treated by a performance by Academy member and musical icon Diana Ross. Miss Ross sang a selection of her classic hits, including “I’m Coming Out,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Stop in the Name of Love.”

December 15, 2022: Awards Council member Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, presents the Golden Plate Award to the President of Kenya, William Ruto, at the Academy headquarters in Washington, D.C.

On December 15th, the Academy hosted a dinner in honor of President William Ruto and First Lady of Kenya Rachel Ruto. During the dinner ceremony, the Golden Plate Award was presented to President Ruto by the Academy’s Awards Council members Dr. Ben Carson and General Charles Q. Brown, USAF. The introduction of President Ruto was moderated by Awards Council member Dr. Francis Collins. “Born in a village called Sambut, the barefoot boy sold squawking chickens by the roadside. His school was a one-room mud building with a rusting sheet metal roof. He got his first pair of shoes at the age of 15. A fierce intellect led him to study botany and zoology at the University of Nairobi, where he received a Ph.D. Yet this achiever was not finished. He flourished, and the village boy became a national leader.”

February 27, 2023: Cal Ripken, Jr., Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Mitch McConnell, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy at a dinner and awards ceremony in the historic Mansfield Room of the United States Capitol.

The American Academy of Achievement held a dinner and awards ceremony in the historic Mansfield Room of the United States Capitol to honor Senator Roy Blunt. The occasion was hosted by Senator Mitch McConnell, Academy Class of 2022. Senator Blunt was introduced by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Academy Class of 2005, and the Golden Plate Award was presented by Senator McConnell and baseball immortal Cal Ripken, Jr., Class of 1997.

February 27, 2023: Catherine B. Reynolds and Senator Roy Blunt in the historic Mansfield Room of the U.S. Capitol.

The introduction read, “This son of the Ozarks was born in Niangua (Nigh-ang-gwa), Missouri, population 408. Nigh-ang-gua is variously said to be the name of an Indian tribal leader; an Indian word meaning “bear;” or an old Indian phrase meaning “I will not go away.” Which is the meaning we will choose as it is a fitting description of a budding politician. Our honoree’s rise was worthy of de Tocqueville’s vision of American democracy—Greene County clerk, Missouri Secretary of State, United States congressman, United States Senator . . . a public servant with the courage to reach across the aisle.”

February 27, 2023: Academy member, singer-songwriter, and musician Judy Collins, performs “Amazing Grace” at a dinner and awards ceremony in the historic Mansfield Room of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Judy Collins, singer and songwriter and member of the Academy’s Class of 2019, opened the evening program with her rendition of “Amazing Grace.” The introduction read, “A voice of crystal, a heart of gold, and a character of truest steel, forged in the crucible of trying times. Many have sung the song of America, but few singers have lived the meaning of our creed with the grace and passion of this national treasure.”

February 27, 2023: Senator Dick Durbin, singer and songwriter Judy Collins, and Senator John Hickenlooper at a dinner and awards ceremony held in the historic Mansfield Room of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The awards ceremony was followed by a discussion on the future of health and wellness by Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the National Institutes of Health and American Academy of Achievement’s Class of 1994, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Chief Medical Adviser to the President and member of the Academy’s Class of 2003.


Abhijit Banerjee, Ph.D.
Nobel Prize in Economics
Amy Coney Barrett
Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
David W. Blight, Ph.D.
Pulitzer Prize for History
General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., USAF
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Lonnie G. Bunch III
Secretary of the Smithsonian
William J. Burns
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
James E. Clyburn
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Susan Collins
United States Senate
Esther Duflo, Ph.D.
Nobel Prize in Economics
Allyson Felix
Olympic Champion
Andrea M. Ghez, Ph.D.
Nobel Prize in Physics
Steve Harvey
Humorist and Humanitarian
Ketanji Brown Jackson
Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
William G. Kaelin, Jr., M.D.
Nobel Prize in Medicine
Stanley Kroenke
Owner, Los Angeles Rams
Gordon Lightfoot
Songwriters Hall of Fame
Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Shuji Nakamura, Ph.D.
Nobel Prize in Physics
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ph.D.
Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Ardem Patapoutian, Ph.D.
Nobel Prize in Medicine
Phillip T. (Terry) Ragon
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
William Ruto
President of the Republic of Kenya
Macky Sall
President of the Republic of Senegal
Tracy K. Smith
Poet Laureate of the United States
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D.
President, Stanford University
Hamdi Ulukaya
Founder and Chairman of Chobani
Drew Weissman, M.D., Ph.D.
Nobel Prize in Medicine
Maria T. Zuber, Ph.D.
Geophysics and Planetary Science