About the Awards

The Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Awards celebrates the highest-achieving individuals who embody the pillars of the transatlantic relationship. Each year, the event convenes an elite, international audience—including current and former heads of state, political and policy leaders, ambassadors, members of Congress and the administration, military commanders, international business leaders, and leading members of the media. The event is regularly featured by national and international media outlets, including the Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, POLITICO, Thomson Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, among others.


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Recap the event

New Atlanticist

May 11, 2023

The 2023 Distinguished Leadership Awards: Honoring the women shaping the global future

By Katherine Walla, Daniel Malloy

Women play a leading role in problem solving, making a historic difference on battlefields, in protests, and in boardrooms. Our annual awards honored awardees embodying this role.

Africa Economy & Business



May 11, 2023

Full transcript: 2023 Distinguished Leadership Awards celebrate the game-changing role of women in the world

By Atlantic Council

The Atlantic Council celebrated its first all-female honoree slate, inspired by the past year of remarkable accomplishments by women around the world.

Africa Economy & Business



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2023 Honorees

The Atlantic Council honors individuals for their achievement in the fields of political, military, business, humanitarian, and artistic leadership. This year we featured our first all-female honoree slate, inspired by the past year of remarkable accomplishments by women in the world. Aside from our usual list of honorees, the Atlantic Council called attention to the rising role of women’s leadership in shaping a better world.

Distinguished International Leadership Award

The Hon. Avril Haines

Director of National Intelligence

Introduced by Atlantic Council Chairman of the International Advisory Board Stephen J. Hadley

Distinguished Business Leadership Award

Adena T. Friedman

Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Nasdaq, Inc.

Introduced by Co-Chair and Co-Founder of The Carlyle Group David M. Rubenstein

Distinguished Military Leadership Award

Gen. Laura J. Richardson

Commander, US Southern Command

Introduced by Atlantic Council Executive Vice Chair Adrienne Arsht

Distinguished International Leadership Award

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Director-General, World Trade Organization

Introduced by American University President Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership Award

The Women and Girls of Iran

Introduced by Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Ambassador Melanne Verveer

Accepted by

Dr. Mahnaz Afkhami

President & CEO, Women’s Learning Partnership

Azam Jangravi

Iranian women’s rights advocate and a Girl of Revolution Street

Dr. Mehrangiz Kar

Iranian women’s rights lawyer and writer

Nazanin Nour

Actress, writer, and activist

Distinguished Leadership Awards

Each year, the Distinguished Leadership Awards salutes an exemplary group of individuals who have contributed to the Atlantic Council mission of shaping the global future together.