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Each year the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Awards celebrates high achieving leaders for their versatile contributions to the strengthening of the transatlantic relationship. These luminaries are honored for their achievement in the fields of political, military, business, humanitarian, and artistic leadership.
Remembering Lieutenant General (Ret.) Brent Scowcroft
Brent Scowcroft, chairman emeritus of the Atlantic Council, president of the Scowcroft Group, and a former national security advisor to the President of the United States, was a world-class strategist and a far-sighted, bold thinker.
A model of selfless service, high integrity, and unflagging commitment. He held office during some of the most extraordinary times in American history, facing challenges as great as any we have confronted in the last seventy years. He’s been called a soldier, a scholar, and a statesman. And he was. But what made him special was the way he lived those roles. He was trained for battle, but he worked for peace. As a teacher, he focused not just on imparting truth, but inspiring a future generation of truth tellers. And as a renowned advisor and decision maker on the world stage, he served with a kind heart and a selfless spirit. Rare qualities indeed.
He offered vital support to the Atlantic Council at critical times. Why? Because he had a vision for what the Council could and should be. It drove him. And it drives us. On this occasion, we celebrate the legacy of Brent Scowcroft with some of those who knew him best.
This has been a challenging year around the world – the scourge of COVID-19 and the massive economic disruption it has caused, as well as an upsurge of protest in the long struggle against racism and inequality. It is important at a time like this to come together to mark the heroism, resilience and imagination of those who seek to help others and change the world.
On this occasion, the Atlantic Council pays tribute to its 2020 Unsung Heroes, after running a global campaign to gather and share individual stories and shine a light on those who have demonstrated extraordinary resilience and leadership during this challenging year of a global pandemic, economic recession, and anti-racist activism.
The selected nominees are:
Maria Kolesnikova, Belarus: Maria Kolesnikova was one of the many faces of lected mass protests against Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko. Maria was jailed after she destroyed her passport to prevent authorities from deporting her to Ukraine.
Diana Berrent, New York: Diana Berrent was the founder of Survivor Corps, the largest grassroots movement in America dedicated to mobilizing COVID-19 survivors to help stem the tide of the pandemic and support the medical and scientific research community. Diana launched the group while in isolation following her own battle with COVID-19.
Melville Family Foundation, Dallas Texas: The Melville Family Foundation works to improve the lives of disadvantaged Black and Hispanic children by providing critical access to food, academic training, and economic opportunities.
The Azadi Project, Greece: The Azadi Project helps refugee women by providing hygiene kits and teaching them digital skills that help them to be productive members of their new communities. It’s run by Priyali Sur, a Millennium Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
Miriam’s Kitchen, Washington D.C.: We salute the employees and volunteers of Miriam’s Kitchen who work every day to end chronic homelessness in Washington, D.C. by providing meals, housing, and support services and are now fighting to keep their communities safe and healthy during the pandemic.
Kung Fu Nuns, Nepal: In the Himalayas, the Kung Fu Nuns regularly venture far from their homes — even during the pandemic — to deliver food and medical aid to families in remote villages in Nepal. These women traveled thousands of kilometers by bicycle to spread a message of female empowerment, diversity and tolerance, and environmental sustainability
Critically acclaimed singer, actress and humanitarian Vanessa Williams narrates and performs in our tribute to our Unsung Heroes.
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Washington Life magazine, June 2019