The Atlantic Council today announced it will host its Annual Awards Dinner with a keynote address by Vice President Joe Biden and presentation of its annual Distinguished Leadership Awards, the organization’s highest honor to one of the world’s pre-eminent business executives; NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander; and a world-renowned tenor and conductor.  The keynote address and presentation of awards will take place on May 3, 2011 and represent the four pillars of the Atlantic relationship:  political, business, military, and artistic leadership. 


“We are proud to honor such remarkable individuals, who richly symbolize the Council’s purpose as we celebrate a half century of service to the transatlantic community and the world,” said Chuck Hagel, former U.S. Senator and Atlantic Council Chairman. 

Fred Kempe, President and CEO of The Atlantic Council, said “At a moment of historic change, our 50th Anniversary Awards serve as a reminder of the continued vibrance of our mission: the renewal of the Atlantic community to tackle the broad spectrum of modern, global challenges, from violent extremism to financial instability.” 

Vice President Joe Biden has played a leading role in shaping U.S. foreign policy and improving the state of the world both as a U.S. Senator and as Vice President.  As chairman or ranking member of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy toward post-Cold War Europe, including backing decisive U.S. leadership to end bloodshed in the Balkans and championing NATO enlargement.  As Vice President, Biden has advanced a number of major initiatives, among them the U.S. “reset” policy toward Russia and the New START arms agreement, counterterrorism cooperation with the European Union, a common NATO strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and efforts to accelerate the integration of the Balkans, Ukraine and Georgia into Europe.  In addition, he has provided sustained, high-level focus for the administration on Iraq policy. 

Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, who will receive the award for Distinguished Business Leadership, heads one of the world’s most respected and philanthropic global companies.  He impressively led and considerably expanded The Coca-Cola Company’s business operations in Central and Eastern Europe during the dramatic transition period following the end of the Cold War.  Under his leadership, The Coca-Cola Company has expanded its market share in the United States, Europe, Asia, and across emerging markets.  The Turkish-American, London-educated executive has been committed to causes ranging from the empowerment of women to forging partnerships between American leaders and Muslim communities around the world.  

The Distinguished Military Leadership Award will be presented to United States Navy Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander United States European Command for the role he has played in service to our nation and his commitment to the security and advancement of the transatlantic alliance.  As NATO’s top military commander for operations, he has played a critical role in generating an allied surge of forces into Afghanistan to complement the U.S. build-up, and in adapting the alliance’s military command to a leaner structure more suited for future challenges, particularly cyber and missile threats.  Admiral Stavridis previously served as the Combatant Commander of United States Southern Command, where he instituted innovative approaches to strategic challenges in concert with U.S. partners and friends in South America. 

Placido Domingo, world renowned, multifaceted artist, will receive the Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award for his musical and humanitarian accomplishments which have resonated around the world.  Recognized as one of the finest and most influential singing actors in the history of opera, he is also a conductor and a major force as an opera administrator in his role as general director of two companies: Los Angeles Opera and Washington National Opera. Debuting as Alfredo in Verdi’s Traviata at the age of twenty, half a century later he continues to perform and record. In 1993, he founded the international voice competition Operalia.  His repertoire encompasses 134 roles, a number unmatched by any other tenor is history, and he has surpassed 3500 performances. His work has earned him numerous accolades including twelve Grammys and two Emmys.  He recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his debuts at the Met, La Scala and Verona and on January 21 he celebrated his 70th birthday with a gala concert in his honor arranged by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain in his native city of Madrid.  

From its founding in 1961-62, The Atlantic Council has been a preeminent, nonpartisan institution devoted to promoting transatlantic cooperation and international security.  In its beginning years, prominent experts in American foreign policy and international affairs-Dean Acheson, Dean Rusk, Christian Herter, Lucius Clay, and others-developed an ambitious agenda to reengage Americans with their European partners on matters of global concern.  Now in its 50th year, the Atlantic Council is harnessing that history of transatlantic leadership and applying its founders’ vision to a broad spectrum of modern, global challenges from violent extremism to financial instability and from NATO’s future shape to energy security. 

The awards will be given at the Annual Awards Dinner on May 3rd in Washington, DC.  For press accreditation, please email 

For non-media inquiries, please e-mail   


1101 15th Street NW 11th Floor – Washington, DC 20005 – (202) 778-4993 –