The Annual Gala Awards

NCAFP President & CEO Ambassador Susan Elliott gives opening remarks at the 2022 NCAFP Annual Awards Gala in New York City

Each year, the NCAFP honors a number of outstanding individuals for their contributions to foreign policy, corporate leadership, the arts, and beyond. The gala event is the organization’s largest fundraiser, as well as a celebration of its crucial work around the world and commitment to keeping global lines of communication open during the most turbulent of times. Its roster of awards includes:



The Hans J. Morgenthau Award

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden receiving the 2017 Award.The Hans J. Morgenthau Award was established in 1981 to commemorate the seminal contributions made by Professor Hans J. Morgenthau to the theory and practice of American foreign policy. The persons honored by this award are those whose intellectual attainments and/or practical contributions to the fields of foreign affairs, international peace, and security have been judged so exemplary in the tradition of Professor Morgenthau as to merit this singular award. Recipients include the Honorable Angier Biddle Duke, the Honorable Sol Linowitz, the Honorable Henry A. Kissinger, the Honorable Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, the Honorable George P. Shultz, David Rockefeller, the Honorable James A. Baker III, the Right Honorable Margaret Thatcher, the Honorable Thomas R. Pickering, His Majesty King Hussein, the Honorable Colin Powell, the Honorable Richard N. Haass, the Honorable Martti Ahtisaari, the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, the Honorable Dr. Robert M. Gates, and Secretary Hillary R. Clinton. 

The George F. Kennan Award for Distinguished Public Service

Ambassador (ret.) Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. accepting the Kennan Award at the 2022 Virtual Gala

Ambassador (ret.) Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. accepting the Kennan Award at the 2022 Virtual Gala

Established in 1994 in honor of George F. Kennan, scholar, diplomat, and statesman, this award honors an American who has served the United States in an exemplary way and has made a seminal contribution to defining and illuminating the national interests of the United States.

Recipients include the Honorable George F. Kennan, the Honorable Cyrus R. Vance, the Honorable Paul A. Volcker, the Honorable Richard C. Holbrooke, Maurice R. Greenberg, the Honorable John D. Negroponte, General David H. Petraeus, former New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, the Honorable Karl W. Eikenberry, former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, Ambassador William J. Burns, Admiral (ret.) Michelle Howard, and Ambassador Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

The Global Business Leadership Award

Audrey Choi accepting the Global Business Leadership Award at the 2022 Virtual Gala

This award is presented by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy to honor a prominent business leader whose efforts have contributed to setting an unimpeachable standard for globally oriented corporate citizenship promoting the national interests of the United States.

Recipients include Paul E. Jacobs, Muhtar Kent, William R. Johnson, Daniel Rose, David Rubenstein, Larry Gagosian, and Audrey Choi.

The 21st Century Leader Award

Shalonda Spencer  accepting the 21st Century Leader Award at the 2022 Virtual Gala

Shalonda Spencer accepting the 21st Century Leader Award at the 2022 Virtual Gala

The 21st Century Leader Award was created to recognize the achievements of individuals under the age of 40 who display a serious commitment to furthering the strategic policy interests of the United States. Through their professional or personal pursuits, these awardees have made important contributions to the international dialogue and demonstrate a promising future in the realm of American foreign policy.  Recipients include John Delury, Nathaniel Fick,  Joshua Cooper Ramo, Nancy Walbridge Collins, Abraham Denmark, Marisa Porges, Farhana Qazi, Brendan R. McGuire, Esq., Ronan Farrow and Nicholas Thompson, Lauren Buitta, and Shalonda Spencer.

The William J. Flynn Initiative for Peace Award

Established as the Initiative for Peace Award in 1997 in honor of William J. Flynn, NCAFP Chairman Emeritus, for his decisive leadership and daring diplomacy in spurring two cease-fires and promoting the peace process in Northern Ireland, the award, renamed in 2001, is presented to an individual who has worked tirelessly to resolve a conflict that has affected the national interests of the United States.  Recipients include William J. Flynn, the Honorable George J. Mitchell, the Right Honorable Dr. Marjorie Mowlam, Viola Drath, the Honorable Hugh L. Carey, Gerry Adams, M.P, Shaun Kelly, and President William J. Clinton. 

The Award for Excellence in Cultural Diplomacy
and International Engagement

Wynton Marsalis performs at the 2019 Gala dinner

This award was established in 2016 to honor the work of an individual, who, through professional or personal endeavors, has exceptionally contributed to advancing the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of the culture of the United States to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation, and promote the national interest.

Recipients include Jo Carole Lauder and Wynton Marsalis.


Other Distinguished Awards

The Humanitarian and Peace Award

The Humanitarian and Peace Award was established in 1987 to honor Professor Elie Wiesel for his extraordinary commitment to advancing human rights and peace in the world.

President Barack Obama

By working to resolve conflicts and serving as a forum for international dialogue, organizations like the NCAFP remind us that the common aspirations we share as human beings are more powerful than the forces that drive us apart."

President Barack Obama

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