Leading global think tank will honor Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Christopher G. Cavoli, and Academy Award-winning actress and producer Michelle Yeoh 

WASHINGTON, DC—MAY 1, 2024—The Atlantic Council announced today the recipients of the 2024 Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Awards, referred to by media as “the Washington Oscars.” Among the honorees are a European head of state, a US cabinet official, NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, and an Academy Award-winning actress. They will be recognized at a star-studded dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on May 8 in Washington, DC. 

Each year, the Distinguished Leadership Awards convenes a high-level international audience of more than six hundred policy, business, military, artistic, and civil-society leaders to celebrate individuals—including policy leaders, business executives, military brass, and artistic and humanitarian champions—who best represent the pillars of the global relationship. 

This year the Atlantic Council will honor Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis with the Distinguished International Leadership Award for his remarkable career, exemplary leadership of Romania, and his transatlantic and European leadership role. Stephen J. Hadley, chairman of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board and former US national security advisor, will introduce President Iohannis and present the award.

The Atlantic Council will also salute U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo with the Distinguished International Leadership Award. She will be recognized for her remarkable public service as the fortieth U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the seventy-fifth, and first female, governor of Rhode Island, as well as for her private sector accomplishments. The award will be presented by John F.W. Rogers, chairman of the Atlantic Council. 

General Christopher G. Cavoli, supreme allied commander Europe (SACEUR) and commander of US European Command, will receive the Distinguished Military Leadership Award in recognition of his more than thirty-five-year career in the US Army, serving in a wide variety of positions in the United States, Europe, and Asia. General Cavoli’s award will be presented by General (US Army, Ret.) John P. Abizaid, former commander of United States Central Command, also marking NATO’s seventy-fifth anniversary. 

Michelle Yeoh, Academy Award-winning actress and producer, will be honored with the Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award. The Atlantic Council will celebrate Yeoh’s award-winning talent and historic accomplishment as the first Asian person to win the award for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. The Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award will recognize her artistic accomplishments and her commitment to advocacy as a United Nations Development Programme goodwill ambassador and as a member of the International Olympic Committee. Cynthia Erivo—Grammy, Emmy, Tony-winning and Oscar-nominated actress, singer, songwriter, and producer—will present the award to Yeoh. 

“The recipients of the 2024 Distinguished Leadership Awards are remarkable and remarkably diverse representatives of global leaders who, through their lifetime of commitment and contributions, have contributed to a better world,” said Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. “By honoring them, we hope to inspire others to step up at a moment when the world so urgently needs distinguished leaders.”

The Distinguished Leadership Awards is among the most important gatherings of international decision makers in Washington each year, recognized for its style, substance, prominent international guest list, and recognition of some of the world’s most influential changemakers.

Past recipients include US presidents George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and then-Vice President Joe Biden; European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; current and former International Monetary Fund managing directors Kristalina Georgieva and Christine Lagarde; World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; and illustrious artists including Dua Lipa, Lionel Richie, Bono, Gloria Estefan, and Renée Fleming.     

The Distinguished Leadership Awards ceremony is on the record and open to the press. To request accreditation or for additional details, please email press@atlanticcouncil.org