The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan (WACWM) has announced that it will begin awarding an annual Vandenberg Prize to a national or international leader who has been influential in developing global understanding and collaboration on the world stage.
The inaugural recipient of the Vandenberg Prize is Ambassador (ret.) Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. He is the former Ambassador of the United States to Russia (2017-19) at the appointment of President Trump, to China (2009-11) at the appointment of President Obama, and to Singapore (1992-93) at the appointment of President George H.W. Bush.
Ambassador Huntsman was also the 16th Governor of Utah (2005-09) and a 2012 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
The Vandenberg Prize is named after Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg (1881-1951), the inspiration for founding the Council in 1949 by Grand Rapids attorney (and later Federal Judge) Douglas Hillman and businessman Edgar Orr.
In addition, the Council will present the annual Hillman-Orr Award to a West Michigan individual or institution that mirrors the intent of the Council’s founding leaders to bring global awareness and international understanding to the West Michigan community.
The first recipient will be Ms. Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place, Inc., the regional economic development organization for Greater Grand Rapids, which has from its beginnings featured a global reach and international mindset.
The Ambassador and Ms. Klohs will receive the awards at a luncheon at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.