Global Leaders Gala 2013: Reaching New Milestones

Global Leaders Gala 2013: Reaching New Milestones

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Maha Neouchy
October 20, 2013

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) celebrated its annual Gala on October 7th, 2013. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Samuel G. Rose, founding partner of Greenebaum & Rose Associates, were recognized for their leadership in strengthening and advancing internship experiences. In addition, The Honorable John C. Whitehead, former United States Deputy Secretary of State and former Goldman Sachs co-chairman, was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.


Dana Bash, Chief Congressional Correspondent for CNN, led the event as Master of Ceremonies. She first became involved with TWC after being invited to one of its Inside Washington Academic Seminars. She recalled her first experience with TWC students: "it was so refreshing to get to see these students…and the way they asked questions, unbelievable questions, informed questions--it was inspiring."


Pillar Award for Professional Achievement: Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Presenters: Lizzie Cooper, alumna ('97), and Leah Hapner ('08), alumna


Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who was the first female senator elected to represent the state of Minnesota, was recognized for the work she has accomplished in the U.S. Senate, where she has advocated for middle-class families and worked to secure support for Minnesota's infrastructure and her constituents, including National Guard members and farmers. During her acceptance speech, she urged members of the audience to embrace TWC's mission, which, "helps build leaders for the future." She then went on to explain how it's not necessary to come from a political family or have a wealthy background to pursue a career in politics, highlighting how she started her own political career as a new mom fighting for a piece of legislation that would guarantee new mothers and their newborns at least 48 hours in the hospital. She concluded her remarks with these words: "I believe in the long-term. Courage is not whether you can go into Congress and make a speech all by yourself or filibuster for days and days--courage is whether or not you're willing to stand next to someone you don't always agree with for the betterment of this country. That is what leadership is about and that is what we have to remember as we go forward."


Among the presenters for this award was Lizzie Cooper, an alumna of Colby College. She said a few words about Senator Klobuchar's impact on her organization, EMILY's List: "You've been an incredibly effective leader and there is so much more you are determined to get done.” Cooper ended by celebrating Senator Klobuchar's strengths as "one of the most popular public servants in the country."


In honor of Senator Klobuchar, TWC has established a special scholarship fund for Women in Politics and Public Affairs, which will support young women with an interest in a career in politics to attend a TWC internship program.


Pillar Award for Leadership: Senator John Boozman (R-AR)

Presenters: Clermon Acklin, alumnus ('09), and Justin Merkel, current TWC intern


Senator John Boozman (R-AR) exemplifies leadership in multiple ways. During his five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Boozman worked to help Arkansas veterans transition to civilian life, pursue their education and access medical treatment. Prior to his work in the Senate, he co-founded and grew a family business, working as an optometrist, as well as serving on one of the state’s largest school boards. After receiving the award, Senator Boozman described his continued commitment to TWC by saying: "I believe in the opportunity [TWC] gives to young people. Thank you for donating, thank you for helping in so many different ways to make all of this possible…all of us together make this such a tremendous program."


Among the presenters for the Pillar Award for Leadership was Clermon Acklin, a TWC alumnus from the University of Central Arkansas, and now works closely with Senator Boozman as a member of his staff. He spoke about the impact of Senator Boozman's leadership, recalling how his "vision for a World Trade Center of Arkansas," became a reality in that state. Acklin also spoke about the influence that the Senator has had on his own career and some of the qualities that he himself hopes to embody one day: "You somehow make time in your hectic schedule to meet the next generation of leaders, people like…The Washington Center students and young alumni in the audience tonight."


In honor of Senator Boozman, TWC has established a special scholarship fund for veterans to participate in TWC's internship programs.


Pillar Award for Lifetime Achievement: The Honorable John C. Whitehead, Former Deputy Secretary of State

Presenters: Scott Rechler, alumnus ('88) and Nicole Klein, current TWC intern


The Honorable John C. Whitehead first became involved with TWC more than 25 years ago when William M. Burke, founder of The Washington Center, and Sheila Burke, co-founder and board member, were running the organization. He recalled how "upon hearing that Bill and Sheila took out a mortgage on their house in order to finance The Washington Center during a rugged time in its existence, I said this is a guy that I want to be associated with."


TWC honored Whitehead's call to serve throughout his distinguished career, as well as his dedication and impact in the fields of business, international diplomacy, and civil society. Among his many philanthropic activities, Whitehead was able to get Goldman Sachs to fund a million dollar grant for TWC's current headquarters building in Logan Circle. He became personally involved with the organization as a board member and he now serves on TWC’s National Advisory Board. Upon receiving his award, he said: "I can think of no organization more important for the future of America…bringing bright young people from all over the world to Washington, to learn about what works, to be interns in the office of important government officials, and [witness] leadership of all kind. I thank you all for being here tonight, I thank you for your generosity, and my last three words: keep it up!"


TWC alumnus, Scott Rechler, chief executive officer and chairman of RXR Realty, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to John Whitehead. Rechler and Whitehead have known each other for over a decade and have forged both a personal and professional relationship. Rechler spoke of Whitehead's impact, both domestically and internationally: "What was the secret to John's success? One clear maxim that he has often repeated, 'You can never learn anything when you're talking.' This insight guided him in business, and would later guide him in international diplomacy." He ended by reflecting the guidance that Whitehead provided him through his own successful career: "[He] served as a role model for people like me. He reinforced the importance of civic responsibility…and has achieved so much. Through it all, John has proven that integrity, humility and a commitment to the good of his country and community, will lead to a rich and meaningful life and will provide an example for generations to come."


Pillar Award for Civic Engagement: Samuel G. Rose

Presenters: Mike Smith, TWC president, and Nina Kuntz, current intern


Samuel G. Rose is a true proponent and advocate of experiential education. Believing that education opens the door to opportunities, Rose established the Samuel G. Rose Scholarship at Dickinson College to level the playing field for more than 100 economically disadvantaged students. He is also an annual supporter of TWC students, with the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Scholarship program, which last year alone provided 56 students from inner city Baltimore, Dickinson College and the state of Florida with scholarships to support their D.C. internship experiences in the fields of environment, energy and the arts.


TWC president Mike Smith presented the award to Rose, who was the recipient of the Pillar Award for Civic Engagement. Smith recalled his first meeting with Rose and being impressed by "his interest in people as individuals and how willing he was to help them." What surprised Smith the most about Rose was the fact that this successful real estate tycoon "bets on the underdog." There was no clearer example then when Rose financed the construction of TWC's Residential and Academic Facility in NoMa. This year TWC celebrated its sixth year in this state-of-the-art facility, which can house up to 350 students and is equipped with an auditorium, nine classrooms, a gym and a student lounge.


New Milestones in 2013


The Washington Center's Gala reached new milestones this year. The annual event raised over $475,000 and hosted a record number of attendees with nearly 600 guests. All of the Gala’s proceeds will be used for student scholarships and will create new transformational experiences for aspiring undergraduates and post-graduates all over the U.S. and the world.


Gala 2013 Presenting Sponsor:

Ford Motor Company


Our Pillar Sponsors Include:


  • Fox Family Foundation
  • Prudential Financial

Our Platinum Sponsors include:


  • Blinken Family Foundation
  • Lubbock Christian University
  • Mr. & Mrs. Chris Norton
  • University of Toledo
  • Univision and
  • Verizon

Our Gold Sponsors include:


  • AT&T
  • Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Barer
  • BB&T Bowling Green State University
  • CBS
  • Citi
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Ohio Valley University
  • Wake Forest University

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