Marking a historic milestone in the life of Eisenhower Fellowships, hundreds of members of the EF global family converged on Philadelphia on May 16 and 17 to pay tribute to our outgoing Chairman, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Retired) and welcome his successor, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.
More than 415 invited guests, including some 170 Fellows from 43 countries, gathered at the National Constitution Center to honor General Powell in a gala celebratory dinner that featured a musical performance by students from the Philadelphia school for Creative and Performing Arts and speakers that included former Vice President Joe Biden, former Bermuda Premier John Swan, former Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary Gates. The General was also feted in video messages from former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, former National Security Adviser General Brent Scowcroft and former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice, James A. Baker III and Henry Kissinger, a Chairman Emeritus of EF. Another EF Chairman Emeritus, former President George H.W. Bush, sent a written message that was read by the master of ceremonies for the evening, veteran NPR and PBS News Hour correspondent Ray Suarez.
National Constitution Center
Video footage of the celebration dinner, honoring former EF chairman, General Colin L Powell, USA (Retired)
Fellows from the Fall 2016 Africa Program, the first regional program in EF history dedicated exclusively to nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, presented General Powell with a beautiful glass sculpture in gratitude for his leadership and support. The emotional highlight of the evening was the unveiling of a mural that Philadelphia public school students created for General Powell with the City of Philadelphia’s renowned Mural Arts Program, headed by Eisenhower Fellow Jane Golden. The mural, created under the supervision of master mural artist Ernel Martinez, was projected digitally for General Powell and will ultimately be displayed at the Olney Charter High School in Northeast Philadelphia this fall.
The Philadelphia Inquirer covered the event and EF’s chairmanship transition with this news report.
Annual Meeting Day
Secretary Gates officially became the 9th Chairman of EF the next morning at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees, then met with Fellows from the 2018 Global Program and the 2017 USA and Zhi-Xing Programs in a wide-ranging seminar at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel attended by more than 200 guests, including young leaders from the Philadelphia Military Academy.
That evening, Secretary Gates presided over the 2018 Annual Awards Dinner at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, hosted by President Gail Harrity, an Eisenhower Fellow. Gail and Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney greeted guests at a pre-dinner cocktail reception punctuated by a musical performance from a group of Mummers, Philadelphia’s distinctive street performers whose annual New Year’s Day celebration is a local ritual.
More than 315 invited guests heard USA Fellow Candice Smith and Global Fellow Vlad Voiculescu eloquently describe their fellowship experiences. President George de Lama updated the EF global family on recent developments and announced several new initiatives, including a pilot Saudi Arabia Program this fall and tentative plans for a second All-Ireland Program in Spring 2019. He also announced the establishment of the Hap and Marcia Wagner Eisenhower Fellowship for a named Fellow from the Bay Area in perpetuity to honor the Wagners’ extraordinary, longtime support for EF.
Distinguished Fellow Award and Eisenhower Medal
Secretary Gates presented the 2018 Distinguished Fellow Award to Minister Mari Pangestu of Indonesia and the Eisenhower Medal of Leadership and Service to EF Trustees David and Susan Eisenhower for their distinguished professional careers and their longtime work to advance the legacy of their grandfather, our namesake, President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The evening was punctuated by a standing ovation from all the assembled guests when master of ceremonies and veteran NPR and ABC News correspondent Deborah Amos individually named and thanked all the members of the EF staff for their exceptional work in organizing the historic two days of events.