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.

2023 Honorees

This year we will feature 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 will be calling attention to the rising role of women’s leadership in shaping a better world.

Distinguished International Leadership Award

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


World Trade Organization

Introduced by American University President Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Distinguished International Leadership Award

The Hon. Avril Haines

Director of National Intelligence

United States Office of the 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


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 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

Dr. Mehrangiz Kar

Iranian women’s rights lawyer and writer

Nazanin Nour

Actress, writer, voice-over artist

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.