Dubbed as Washington’s “Oscars” for international achievement, innovative virtual format will also salute the Unsung Heroes of 2020 and legacy of Lt. Gen Brent Scowcroft

WASHINGTON, DC – September 29, 2020 – The Atlantic Council announced today it will present its annual Distinguished Leadership Awards on October 14 to Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; Luis Alberto Moreno, outgoing president of the Inter-American Development Bank; and Lionel Richie, music icon, producer and philanthropist.

The most significant event on the Washington calendar celebrating global leaders was moved from its usual timing in May and will this year be hosted in a virtual format due to the ongoing safety requirements of COVID-19.

In addition to the three honorees, the ceremony will pay tribute to the Unsung Heroes of 2020—inspirational men and women around the globe demonstrating extraordinary courage, resilience, and ingenuity in the face of the pandemic, economic recession and anti-racist upheavals.

The Atlantic Council will also honor the life and legacy of Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the only individual to have been appointed twice to serve two American presidents as national security adviser and one of the most important forces behind the sustained relevance and strength of the Atlantic Council. The salute to the life of Lt. Gen. Scowcroft will be led by Henry A. Kissinger, former US Secretary of State and the Council’s longest serving board member.

“This uniquely challenging year underscores the significance of the nature of principled and effective leadership we salute through these awards,” said Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. “We hope by honoring these individuals at such a difficult time that we will also inspire others.”

This uniquely challenging year underscores the significance of the nature of principled and effective leadership we salute through these awards.

Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council

Managing Director Georgieva will receive the Atlantic Council Distinguished International Leadership Award for a lifetime of public service and, most recently her remarkable leadership of the International Monetary Fund through COVID-19’s economic challenges, particularly in the developing world. She will be introduced for her award by former US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

The Atlantic Council will honor Luis Alberto Moreno as he steps down following 15 years of game-changing leadership at the IADB, including most recently his contributions to combatting the COVID crisis in Latin America. President Moreno, who previously served as Colombia’s ambassador to the United States, will be introduced by former US Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

Lionel Richie will receive the Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award for his personal commitment to philanthropy and his legendary career, which has transcended generations and resulted in multiple Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Kennedy Center Honor, and an induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Mr. Richie will be introduced Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and The RLJ Companies

The Atlantic Council’s tribute to the “Unsung Heroes of 2020” is the culmination of a worldwide campaign to gather and share individual stories of everyday global citizens who have contributed impressively to their communities during this year of global pandemic, economic recession and the continuing fight for justice and equality. This tribute will be narrated by and feature a performance from critically acclaimed singer, actress and humanitarian Vanessa Williams.

The Distinguished Leadership Awards gala annually convenes a diverse audience of hundreds of guests from more than 50 countries. This year’s event will be hosted on October 14, 2020 at 6:00pm ET.   

The event is on-the-record and will be available via livestream. To register, or for further questions, please email press@atlanticcouncil.org