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On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication awarded Congresswoman Nita M.Lowey (NY-17) with the IPDGC Walter Roberts annual award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy.

In presenting Congresswoman Lowey with the award, IPDGC Director Janet Steele noted that “the award was created to highlight the importance of something that for many Americans is largely invisible.”

Rep. Lowey and IPDGC Director Janet Steele.

“As Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey has been a tireless advocate for international education and exchanges. Her fostering of learning and indeed her commitment to education at all levels has helped the United States to put its best foot forward, to lead with our values, and to enhance our international leadership.”

In receiving the award, Congresswoman Lowey said, “I have long believed that our national security is strongest when development, diplomacy, and defense are all well-funded and equally prioritized. That is why I’ve served proudly in leadership roles related to foreign affairs. I thank the George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication for honoring me and accept this award not for a job well done, but as a reminder of our shared and ongoing commitment to doing everything we can to build a better world for all.”

At the event to congratulate her was U.S. State Department Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce who said, “Chairwoman Lowey has been a champion for American leadership and diplomatic engagement around the world. Thank you, Madam Chair, for your enduring support of people-to-people exchange programs as a core element of our foreign policy.”

To accompany the Congresswoman’s award, the Walter Roberts Endowment presented a $5000 grant to Battery Dance of New York for public diplomacy outreach in her constituency.

Others at the intimate ceremony were National Public Radio President and CEO John Lansing, Voice of America’s News Center Director Yolanda López, Battery Dance Vice-President and COO Emad Salem, members of the Walter Roberts Endowment – Thomas Miller, Patricia Roberts and Shawn Powers, and even GW student Helen Jiang from Lowey’s constituency

Jiang who grew up in Scarsdale, NY, first met with Congresswoman Lowey on a 5th grade trip to the Capitol. This time, she was able chat with the Congresswoman, and share about her own public diplomacy effort – as a Peace Corps Education volunteer in China (photo on right).

The grant to Battery Dance will be use to organize dance workshops, panel discussions, and screenings of the short film, “Moving Stories” for youths and students at schools in Westchester and Rockland counties, NY.

All photos by Harrison Jones/ GW University

Lowey Receives Award For Congressional Leadership
In Public Diplomacy

 Congresswoman Honored by George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

 

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, January 15, 2020) – Today, U.S. Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, received the George Washington University’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication’s (IPDGC) annual Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy at a ceremony on Capitol Hill. To accompany the award, IPDGC announced that it is providing a grant from the Walter Roberts Endowment to New York’s Battery Dance. The grant will be used to support outreach programs at schools in Westchester and Rockland Counties, which Lowey represents in Congress.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, National Public Radio President and CEO John Lansing, Director of VOA’s News Center Yolanda López, and Battery Dance Vice-President and COO Emad Salem spoke at the event about the importance of American public diplomacy.

“In today’s interconnected world, our critically valuable diplomatic relationships, cultivated over years of engagement, are needed more now than perhaps ever before,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “I have long believed that our national security is strongest when development, diplomacy, and defense are all well-funded and equally prioritized. That is why I’ve served proudly in leadership roles related to foreign affairs. I thank the George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication for honoring me and accept this award not for a job well done, but as a reminder of our shared and ongoing commitment to doing everything we can to build a better world for all.”

“The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication created this award for congressional leadership in public diplomacy because we wanted to highlight the importance of something that for many Americans is largely invisible,” said Janet Steele, director of GW’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. “As Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey has been a tireless advocate for international education and exchanges. Her fostering of learning and indeed her commitment to education at all levels has helped the United States to put its best foot forward, to lead with our values, and to enhance our international leadership.”

Lowey was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988 and is currently serving her sixteenth term in Congress, representing parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties. At the beginning of the 113th Congress, Congresswoman Lowey was selected by her colleagues to be the Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee

Few members of Congress have taken key leadership roles on so many vital public policy issues. Lowey has led efforts to make our nation and families more secure by better equipping and training first responders as well as ensuring preparedness for pandemics like Ebola, Zika, and avian flu. She has worked to increase health care access and biomedical research and spearheaded the effort to more than double funding for breast cancer research. She has successfully fought efforts to cut funding for public broadcasting and supported fully funding the federal government’s commitment to education at all levels. Because she understands that instability abroad undermines security at home, she is a fierce advocate for increasing developmental assistance abroad on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee.

Lowey served in the House Democratic Leadership in 2001 and 2002 as the first woman and first New Yorker to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Lowey was born in the Bronx; graduated from the Bronx High School of Science; and received a Bachelor’s Degree from Mount Holyoke College. She served as Assistant Secretary of State for the State of New York before being elected to Congress. Nita and Stephen Lowey have been married for almost 60 years and have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

The grant to Battery Dance will be used for dance workshops, panel discussions, and screenings of the film “Moving Stories” at schools in Westchester and Rockland counties.

 

For media information – contacts:

Jason Shevrin (GW) 202-994-5631.

Katelynn Thorpe (Rep. Lowey) at 202-225-6506.

Deborah Corrales (Battery Dance) at 212-219-3910.

Dear Friend,

Thirteen years ago, the Walter Roberts Endowment was established with generous contributions from Dr. Roberts and the Roberts family. The Endowment was to ensure continued support for public diplomacy through higher learning and research, recognition of leadership and shared best PD practices.

The Endowment has assisted in funding activities of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) at the George Washington University.

The Annual Walter Roberts Lecture for 2020 will feature Dr. Joseph S. Nye, who, 30 years ago, originated the term “soft power” in describing the persuasive approach in U.S. foreign policy. The Lecture will be held on January 30, 2020, at the Elliott School for International Affairs.

The Endowment continues to support IPDGC’s Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy, which honors members of Congress who have been consistently supportive of public diplomacy throughout their careers. These awards support public diplomacy micro-projects in institutions situated in the member’s state or congressional district.

The Endowment also encourages GW graduate students to excel in public diplomacy studies. Hence, to move ahead, we are trying to increase the size of the Endowment to allow us to provide grants to graduate students who could not otherwise afford to study public diplomacy at GW.

We encourage you to join with the Roberts family in continuing to support the vital public diplomacy outreach work that the Endowment underwrites.

In 2018 and 2019, IPDGC recognized two U.S. senators for their unwavering support for public diplomacy work with the Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy. To further honor the recipients of this award, small grants were given to organizations in their home states for micro-projects reflecting the essence of public diplomacy - exchanges, outreach, engagement.

The University of Tennessee’s Center for Sports, Peace and Society (CSPS) and Vermont Council of World Affairs (VCWA) were the grantees for those respective years. The directors of both organizations have enthusiastically shared how the grants provided opportunity to have follow-up projects for the work they already do.

CSPS Director Dr. Sarah Hilyer was able to visit Iraq to conduct a first-ever mother-daughter basketball clinic for the partner organization, Zhima. CSPS and Zhima have a years-long supportive relationship; building sports and life skills of young girls in the city of Sulaymaniyah. Learn more.

Lady Vols basketballs at the Pat Summitt movie premiere - "Legacy of Love".

VCWA Director Patricia Preston said that having a “reverse-exchange” program allowed their organization to return to Tanzania and reinforce the positive messages of the initial leadership program that brought visitors from Pan-African nations to Vermont. Learn more.

Breakout session at the Changemakers 2019 Summit in Tanzania.

In the upcoming year, IPDGC plans to recognize another representative who has ensured that America's values, vision, and ideas are shared with the rest of the world through public diplomacy efforts.

As IPDGC's Director Janet Steele notes, “The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication created this award for congressional leadership in public diplomacy because we wanted to highlight something that for many Americans is invisible." It is through the Award Recipients' active participation, advocacy, and legislative support, that America's story is shared with the world.

Sen. Bob Corker accepts the Walter Roberts Award from GW IPDGC Director Janet Steele. 

 

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday received the George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication’s first annual Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

“Through my role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I have had the opportunity to travel across the globe and see the positive impact that our nation has on the world,” Sen. Corker said at a ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

“No matter the challenges we may face here at home, I am always reminded that we live in the greatest country on Earth, and that millions around the world strive to emulate us,” he said. “Telling that story and serving in this capacity has been an incredible privilege, and I thank George Washington University for this honor and for promoting public diplomacy that advances American interests abroad.”

Janet Steele, director of GW’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC), said the award was created for congressional leadership in public diplomacy to shed light on something that is invisible to many Americans.

“They may know of the Fulbright program or be aware of Voice of America, but it’s been my experience that the majority of Americans have no idea what public diplomacy even is, let alone how the programs that are carried out in their name provide direct benefits to the United States,” Dr. Steele said.

“As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Corker has been a consistent supporter of U.S. public diplomacy, recognizing the impact that U.S. leadership and diplomacy abroad can have on our own economy and national security,” she said.

Sen. Corker is in his second term in the Senate. He is also a member of the Banking Committee and the Budget Committee. He was Tennessee’s commissioner of finance and mayor of Chattanooga before being elected to the Senate in 2006. He had spent most of his adult life in business.

He has visited more than 70 countries since taking office to gain a deeper understanding of the strategic relationships between the U.S. and other nations.

Once elected chairman in 2015, Sen. Corker quickly worked to build the committee’s emerging reputation for developing bipartisan consensus on major issues and reasserting the committee’s traditional role in foreign policy.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, Broadcasting Board of Governors CEO John Lansing and University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace and Security Director Sarah Hillyer also spoke at the event about the importance of American public diplomacy.

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