Highlights from the 2023 Tribute Celebration

December 21, 2023 By Mia Azizah

On December 8th, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition hosted our annual Tribute Celebration, where more than 700 business, military, faith and political leaders, along with leading Administration figures and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, gathered together to recognize the importance of American global leadership in the world at a time of rising global and humanitarian crises, and to recognize the leaders who make it possible. 

This year’s honorees included Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) alongside our nation’s 71st Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who was honored with USGLC’s 2023 “Global Leadership Award.” 

1. A Night for American Leadership

The USGLC 2023 Tribute honored Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken with the “Global Leadership Award” for his dedication to strengthening diplomacy and development and his unwavering commitment to advancing U.S. global leadership, alongside the women and men at the U.S. Department of State.

In a fireside chat with USGLC President & CEO Liz Schrayer on his long career of service and his work in the State Department, he said, “The real reason I’m here tonight, besides wanting to celebrate USGLC, is also just to celebrate my colleagues, because I’m here as their representative on this stage,” said Sec. Blinken. “Each and every day, they are out there working for our country and working to make this world just a little bit safer, a little bit healthier, a little bit more prosperous. 

» Watch the full conversation here. 

2. An Appeal for Supplemental Funding

During his remarks, Sec. Blinken also emphasized the consequences of not leading globally. As Congress debated the emergency national security request to help meet needs in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and the Indo-Pacific, he made an appeal to Congress for the supplemental funding that advances our national security and interests. 

“I can tell you where people are who do not want to see the supplemental pass,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “They’re sitting in offices in Beijing, in Moscow and Tehran.” 

3. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA): We’re with Ukraine

Senator Joni Ernst shared her experience participating in an agricultural exchange trip to Ukraine in the 1980s – the height of the Cold War. The experience of meeting her host family, seeing a collective farm with no running electricity and being asked, “What is it like to be an American?” propelled her to serve the country. Today, the combat veteran and Iowa Senator continues to advocate for the United States to engage around the world through robust diplomatic engagement, especially through food aid.   

“Ukraine means so much to me. I’ve seen them fight so hard for so many decades now to become an independent nation…,” said Sen. Ernst. “We must absolutely maintain our support for Ukraine and make sure that they see victory.” 

» Watch the full speech here. 

4. Senator Booker (D-NJ): Bipartisanship is an American Value

In his remarks, Senator Booker proudly talked about his bipartisan work with Sen. Ernst to champion America’s global leadership by advancing U.S. development and diplomacy programs to address global crises. He also recalled his trip to Israel on October 7, which was the same day Israel was under attack by Hamas. He recalled the experience as another wake-up call to advance national security by increasing our engagement with the world.  

“The world is at a crossroads. Will we choose chaos and terror or strength and peace?” he said. “Will we choose the road that leads into the quicksand of division and divide or get to the high ground that calls us, all of us, to the mountaintop?” 

» Watch the full speech here. 

5. Honoring Members of Congress Who Were Former USGLC Advisory Committee Members

USGLC honored Reps. Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Jason Crow (D-CO), Mike Flood (R-NE), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Zach Nunn (R-IA), Deborah Ross (D-NC), Greg Stanton (D-AZ) and Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) — all former USGLC State Advisory Committee (AC) members—for their leadership both in and out of Congress and their commitment to advancing America leadership in a global stage.  

“I’m honored by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s recognition,” said Rep. Jason Crow. “From serving in the military to Congress, I’ve dedicated my career to strengthening American leadership and affirming our commitment to human rights, democracy, and diplomacy.”  

“During a time of unprecedented threats against democracy at home and abroad, the world needs American leadership now more than ever. I’m grateful for the critical work of USGLC and remain committed to advocating for strong U.S. global leadership and diplomacy,” said Rep. Deborah Ross. 

6. Partnerships for Success 

This year’s celebration was cochaired by Deborah Telman of Gilead and Mark Viso of Food for the Hungry, two of the USGLC’s partners in advancing public-private partnerships that tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges.

“This is a prime example of how both sides of the aisle, along with private and public partners, are building a safer and healthier world. I’m proud that the United States is at the forefront of global health leadership,” Deborah Telman said.

Additional supporters who made the night possible include ADM, Amazon, Andrew Tisch, CARE, Cargill, Catholic Relief Services, Citigroup, Creative Associates, DAI, Elanor Crook Foundation, FHI360, Google, IREX, Johson & Johnson, JSI, Merck, Mercy Corps, PATH, Procter & Gamble, PSI, RTI International, United Nations Foundation and UNHCR.

“We need everyone at the table to find the answers to life’s most complex and complicated problems and challenges. That’s why we work side by side with the people we serve,” Mark Viso said. “We join our colleagues from NGOs and development companies to apply America’s diplomacy and global development programs that contribute to a better, safer world.” 

7. A Night to Remember

Tribute, as some may refer to as ‘foreign policy prom,’ was accompanied by Kazual, an alumni of the State Department’s American Music Abroad Program and the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York to celebrate and highlight the bipartisan work of the United States in fighting threats from China, Russia, and Iran to ensure America remains the shining city on the Hill.