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Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, IBM Corporation, National Geographic Society, Republic of South Africa, George Mason University, and NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter receive World Affairs Council HONORS Awards

WASHINGTON, DC (April 1, 2016) – The World Affairs Council – Washington, DC (WAC-DC) recognizes organizations, corporations and nations who demonstrate an exemplary leadership commitment to global education, international affairs and global communications at its annual World Affairs HONORS: Gala. Over 800 representatives of corporate, government and academic institutions joined nonprofit, military and veterans organizations, and press at the March 29th dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Washington.

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter gave the Keynote Address on ‘Education and The Military’ and accepted the 2016 International Public Service Award on behalf of all veterans and DOD employees serving worldwide. “The World Affairs Council does an excellent job of engaging citizens…and is dedicated to expanding understanding and cooperation…in our complex and interconnected world,” said Secretary Carter. He concluded his remarks on new DOD initiatives to give military and civilian personnel “the opportunity to get out and to learn about how the rest of the world works outside of our walls.”


(Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivers the Keynote Address at the World Affairs HONORS: Gala on March 29. Carter was presented with the International Public Service Award at the Council's 36th Annual Gala to support Global Education.)

Daniel Pelino, IBM Corporation’s General Manager for the Global Public Sector received the 2016 Global Education Award and urged the audience to join their communities to “help change the world of education with the commitment to create ‘endless skies of opportunities’ for every citizen, student, and learner that dreams for a better tomorrow, through empowerment of education.”


The Republic of South Africa received the Council’s 2016 Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award, accepted by H.E. Mninwa J Mahlangu, Ambassador to the United States.  "There is no longer a need to debate the fact that our education system needs to produce students that are more globally informed,” stated the Ambassador, who said he accepted the award not only on behalf of his country but the entire African continent. “Our country is grateful that through the support of The MasterCard Foundation and the World Affairs Council-DC, we have successfully established an innovative 2015-2016 Global Education Teachers–International Exchange Program. We have involved teachers and students from Pretoria, Johannesburg, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC in a transformational educational experience that we look forward to expanding in South Africa and the United States.”


([L to R] Gary Knell, President & CEO of National Geographic & recipient of the Global Communications Award; Dr. Ángel Cabrera, President of George Mason University & recipient of the Educator of the Year Award; HE Mninwa Mahlangu, Ambassador of South Africa & recipient of Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award; and Dan Pelino, General Manager-Global Public Sector-IBM & recipient of the Global Education Award.)

Dr. Ángel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, accepted the 2016 Educator of the Year Award on behalf of his faculty, Board and staff. “We are committed to what we call ‘research of consequence’, scholarship and science to help us understand the pressing issues that confront our world and can help us identify new solutions,” Dr. Cabrera said. “Our goal at Mason is not to be the best university in the world, but the best university for the world.”


Gary Knell, President and CEO of The National Geographic Society accepted the 2016 Global Communications Award on behalf of his worldwide employees and Board of Trustees. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to double down on our investments in scientists, explorers, photographers, journalists, and educators,” said Mr. Knell. “Our children are inheriting a planet in need of attention, and will need all the tools at their disposal to make the best decisions possible about protecting it.”


Cris Carter – Member of the NFL Hall of Fame was Emcee of the World Affairs – HONORS: Gala and received the 2016 Global Ambassadors Award for his achievements in sport and promotion of health, fitness and global education through his charitable foundations.


Two participants in WAC-DC’s global education programs also spoke at the HONORS: Gala. Anna DuBro, a 2015 Young Ambassador to Costa Rica, and student at George Mason High School in Virginia, described her three week intensive and transformational educational experience in Costa Rica. “Learning does not come from an hour and a half in the classroom… it comes through a cultural and language immersion in a new country and by  interacting with people whom you can establish friendships based on mutual respect and understanding.”


Akinyele Emory Calhoun, a teacher at Dunbar High School in Washington, DC and a participant in the 2015/16 Global Education Teacher–International Exchange Program between the US and South Africa, talked about his international professional experience. “As the world changes, the World Affairs Council has had the foresight to be proactive… and to give us the opportunity to be students again,” Calhoun remarked. “When you empower and inspire a teacher, you inspire every young person whom they teach!”


A distinguished guest at the March 29 Gala was Medal of Honor recipient Captain Florent Groberg, who is completing his Master’s Degree at the University of Maryland University College. Capt. Groberg received a standing ovation when recognized from the podium by Secretary Carter.

(The Hon. Ash Carter, US Secretary of Defense; Capt. Florent Groberg, Medal of Honor Recipient at the 36th annual World Affairs - HONORS: Gala)

The World Affairs Council-Washington, DC:
The World Affairs Council – Washington, DC is ‘A Leading Forum for Global Education and International Affairs’ and an institution ‘Where Learning Happens’. The Council is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to expanding awareness among the American public and international community, of geopolitical, business, environmental and civil society issues, in our inter-connected world.

Kristin Roach, WAC-DC Director-Global Communications,, 202-293-1051
Tony R. Culley-Foster, WAC-DC President & CEO,, 202-293-1051

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