Past and present honorees of the Academy of Achievement convened in New York City for the 2005 International Achievement Summit. From June 1 through June 4, a host of internationally renowned statesmen, scientists, artists and humanitarians shared their wisdom and experience with 260 outstanding graduate students from 50 countries and inducted more than 25 new members into the Academy.
World leaders in attendance included: the 42nd President of the United States, William J. Clinton; Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan; President Festus Mogae of Botswana; President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia; President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal; and former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Among the attendees were four recipients of the Nobel Prize for Peace: Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Honorable Lech Walesa, and Elie Wiesel.
Distinguished public servants among the Academy members included Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, the Honorable Tom Daschle and Dr. Antonia Novello. The former Treasury Secretary, Dr. Lawrence Summers, now the President of Harvard University, was honored, along with the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Susan Hockfield, and the President of New York University, Dr. John Sexton.
Among the constellation of stellar scientists at the Summit were eight recipients of the Nobel Prize. Recent Nobel honorees who joined the Academy at the 2005 Summit were Dr. Richard Axel and Dr. Linda Buck (Medicine), Dr. Aaron Ciechanover (Chemistry), Dr. David Gross and Dr. Frank Wilczek (Physics). The only living American to have received the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison, was one of a number of new honorees from the world of letters, including novelists John Irving and Tom Wolfe.
Pulitzer Prize recipients in attendance included: playwright Edward Albee; biographer A. Scott Berg; journalist Thomas L. Friedman; composer Wynton Marsalis; authors Frank McCourt, N. Scott Momaday and Neil Sheehan; and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The world of music was further represented by Academy members Kathleen Battle, John Fogerty, Naomi and Wynonna Judd, B.B. King and Itzhak Perlman.
Leaders of the motion picture industry and the acting profession included Star Wars creator George Lucas and actors Sally Field, Michael J. Fox, James Earl Jones and Denzel Washington. Journalism and the news media were represented by Academy members Katie Couric, Sam Donaldson, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert and Mike Wallace.
The Mayor of New York City, the Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg, was the Host of this year's Summit; Catherine B. Reynolds, Chairman and CEO of The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, was the Host Chairman. The Summit was made possible by a generous grant from The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation. Honorees and guests of the Academy stayed at the famed St. Regis Hotel, the most charming and elegant of the city's historic gathering places. Many of the Summit's symposium sessions, luncheons and dinners were held in the glittering roof ballroom of the St. Regis.
The Summit opened at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art with a stirring address by a member of the Academy's Class of 2002, the 42nd President of the United States, William J. Clinton. The former president addressed the need for global cooperation among the next generation of leaders. Mr. Clinton emphasized the positive aspects of globalization, asserting that the world drawing closer together promises improvements in the quality of life for all. This theme, introduced by President Clinton on the first night, would be underscored on the last day of the Summit by journalist Thomas L. Friedman, who detailed the benefits and challenges of an international information economy in a presentation based on his best-selling book, The World Is Flat. President Clinton also re-affirmed the importance of America's historic role as an exemplary democracy, and praised the American people's consistent preference for optimistic leadership in the nation's highest office. The mutual delight of the former President and the international student delegates in the free exchange of ideas was evident in the spirited question-and-answer session that followed Mr. Clinton's address.
The opening evening continued with a disarmingly informal presentation by Katie Couric, the host of NBC's popular Today Show. Ms. Couric spoke amusingly of the pitfalls and rejection she overcame in her rise to the top of her profession. She also spoke more seriously of the personal loss that led her to become the nation's leading spokesman for colon cancer detection and research.
Two new members of the Academy of Achievement were inducted on the first evening of the Summit: the President of MIT, Dr. Susan Hockfield; and baseball legend Yogi Berra, who offered the Academy students one of his often-quoted aphorisms: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Berra was presented with the Gold Medal of the Academy by track and field legend Sir Roger Bannister. The evening concluded with a sparkling dinner in the awe-inspiring Temple of Dendur, a first-century Egyptian temple reassembled, stone by stone, in a vast sky-lit chamber of the Metropolitan.
The first morning's proceedings began in the Roof Ballroom of the St. Regis Hotel, as MSNBC Hardball Host Chris Matthews moderated a thought-provoking discussion between the Academy's students and former CIA Director George Tenet. This discussion can be heard in its entirety in the Audio Recordings area.
A penetrating discussion of the relationship of religion and science was led by Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute for Human Genome Research. Panelists included famed neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson; Sir Paul Nurse, President of Rockefeller University and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine; and anthropologist Donald Johanson, discoverer of the celebrated "Lucy" fossils.
The morning's speakers also included the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt, and Oscar-winning actress Sally Field. A thoughtful discussion of Health and Public Policy was moderated by David Gergen, advisor to four presidents and Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Academy members on the panel included the Mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley; former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle; Dr. Antonia Novello, the former Surgeon General of the United States; and the pioneer of integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil.
At midday, Academy members, guests and student delegates enjoyed a luncheon on the lawn at historic Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York, as guests of the Summit's Host, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. After lunch, the assembly enjoyed an entertaining and informative presentation by Meet the Press host Tim Russert, who was inducted into the Academy by Mayor Bloomberg himself.
Thursday afternoon took the Academy to the Broadway theater district for a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of theatrical luminaries. The Artistic Director of New York's Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, conducted the discussion between the Academy's student delegates and a panel including: America's foremost playwright, Edward Albee; Broadway's most honored composer, Stephen Sondheim; Angels in America author Tony Kushner; the distinguished actor James Earl Jones; and two-time Oscar winners Sally Field and Denzel Washington. Following the panel discussion, Denzel Washington and Stephen Sondheim were both inducted into the Academy.
On returning to the St. Regis, special guest Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway upright scooter, demonstrated a revolutionary water-purification system, which may supply clean water to parts of the globe where this is the rarest and most precious of natural resources. The Academy also heard from Nobel Prize-winning physicists David Gross and Frank Wilczek, Egyptologist Kent Weeks and Sir John Bond, Chairman of HSBC Holdings. The afternoon program culminated in a free-wheeling question-and-answer session with Star Wars creator George Lucas.
The Academy enjoyed an exhilarating evening of music, dance and inspiration in the new home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Frederick P. Rose Hall. The assembly gathered in the Allen Room, whose 50-foot glass wall offered a breathtaking view of Columbus Circle and Central Park as night fell over the city. Brilliant student delegates of the Academy performed throughout the evening, including pianists Alexandre Pirojenko and Adam Golka. The evening began on an unexpectedly whimsical note with a surprise performance by Dr. Francis Collins. Accompanying himself expertly on guitar, Dr. Collins brought down the house with his original lyrics to the standard, "My Way," presenting a satirical view of academic life that struck a resounding chord with the Academy's student delegates.
The greater part of the evening focused on the theme of Faith and the Human Spirit. The celebrated dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell, founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, introduced a stunningly talented Academy student delegate, Megan June, who performed a thrilling trio with members of Mitchell's company.
The Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis, spoke movingly of the power of music to give voice to the highest yearnings of the human spirit. The trumpet virtuoso proved his point with a powerfully swinging performance, accompanied by a rhythm section drawn from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The internationally acclaimed soprano Kathleen Battle gave a spine-tingling a cappella reading of the traditional spiritual "Swing Low," before joining Marsalis and his combo to explore the common ground of jazz and gospel music with a soul-stirring rendition of "This Little Light of Mine."
The next two speakers were both recipients of the Nobel Prize for Peace. The former President of Poland, Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, spoke passionately of the inspiration the late Pope John Paul II lent to the Polish people in their struggle for freedom. Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust, internationally acclaimed author and human rights activist, brought many in the audience to tears with his eloquent testimony, affirming the power of the human spirit to survive and overcome even the most horrific of historic calamities.
At the end of his address, Wiesel introduced the world's greatest violinist, Itzhak Perlman, who was inducted into the Academy to thunderous applause. Perlman spoke briefly before introducing another gifted Academy student delegate, the 17-year-old violin prodigy Nicola Benedetti, who recently signed an unprecedented recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Her performance of the "Meditation" from Thaïs transported the audience and her fellow performers to a realm beyond words.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet N. Scott Momaday spoke of the meaning of faith from his own Native American perspective, and movingly read the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. As the last of those familiar, ever-new words reverberated in the darkened hall, singer James Ingram led a gospel choir in a rousing performance of "America the Beautiful," bringing the evening to a profoundly stirring conclusion.
Friday morning took the Academy to the majestic halls of the United Nations for a unique symposium on the role of the global body in the world today. An authentic hero of our times, Paul Rusesabagina, whose courageous actions were recounted in the film Hotel Rwanda, spoke of the horrific genocide that took place in his native country and stressed the duty of the world community to prevent similar catastrophes in the future, making specific reference to the unfolding tragedy in Darfur, Sudan.
The Academy heard from another new member, the founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World, Dr. Bernard Kouchner. His address was made all the more poignant by the recent death of Helene De Beir. A student delegate to the Academy's 1999 International Achievement Summit in Budapest, she later joined Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan, where she lost her life to a Taliban ambush while providing emergency medical aid to refugees. Dr. Kouchner asked that we honor her sacrifice by doing our part to build the better world she gave her life for.
Another courageous soul who shared her experience with the Academy that morning was Dr. Shirin Ebadi. A fearless advocate of the rights of women and children in her native Iran, she has persisted in her cause despite the opposition of her country's government. Her determination has won the admiration of the world and earned her the Nobel Prize for Peace.
The United Nations' Undersecretary General for Communications and Public Information, Shashi Tharoor, introduced an extraordinary panel on the Future of Sub-Saharan Africa. Participants included: the President of Botswana, His Excellency Festus Mogae; the President of Senegal, His Excellency Abdoulaye Wade; the UN's Undersecretary General and Special Advisor for Africa, Ibrahim Gambari; and the Director of UNICEF, the Honorable Ann Veneman.
After their morning at the UN, Academy members, guests and student delegates returned to the St. Regis for a special midday session on the theme of Social Entrepreneurship. The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation announced a grant of $20 million to fund the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellows for Social Entrepreneurship at Harvard and New York University. These fellowships will make it possible for over 100 students at each of these universities to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to create financially self-sustaining not-for-profit organizations that will address the most pressing challenges facing America and the world in the 21st Century. The President of New York University, John Sexton, and the President of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, were on hand to accept these gifts on behalf of their universities. The session's other speakers included philanthropist Kenneth E. Behring and Wendy Kopp, the Founder of Teach for America. Congressman Edward J. Markey, a special guest of the Academy, conducted an intriguing discussion with the Academy's student delegates, in which they discussed their own social enterprises.
On Friday afternoon, the Academy heard from an incomparable array of speakers, including: novelist John Irving; Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta; national security expert Graham Allison; and Professor Toni Morrison, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Google Co-Founder Larry Page; the Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzales; United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy; consumer activist and presidential candidate Ralph Nader; the President of Washington's John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Michael Kaiser; and author Tom Wolfe. The Friday afternoon symposium concluded with addresses by two of the world's most admired men: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize; and the former Secretary of State, the Honorable Colin L. Powell.
The 2005 International Achievement Summit culminated with the glittering Banquet of the Golden Plate, held in the art-deco splendor of the Starlight Ballroom at the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The members of the Class of 2005 were presented with the Golden Plate of the Academy of Achievement, and after a gracious address by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the assembled guests, honorees and delegates relaxed for a sumptuous meal and an evening of classic American music.
The King of the Blues, Academy member B.B. King, brought his sizzling band to the stage, and delegates from around the world were captivated by the infectious rhythms and irresistible humanity of his music. B.B. King was joined onstage for a final duet with a surprise guest, Academy member Wynonna Judd.
The celebration continued with a roof-raising set by a member of the Academy's Class of 2005, rock and roll legend John Fogerty. Reaching into a songbag packed with his tunes from the 1960s to the present, Fogerty rocked the house with timeless hits like "Bad Moon Rising," "Fortunate Son" and the baseball anthem "Centerfield," before closing with the irresistible "Proud Mary (Rolling on the River)." Heads of state, Nobel laureates, distinguished authors, scientists, captains of industry and legends of stage and screen joined the international student delegates on the dance floor, bringing the 2005 Banquet of the Golden Plate to a joyous conclusion.
In a city that only a few years ago was traumatized by a brutal act of hatred, talented students from around the world had a chance to see and hear all that human beings can accomplish when they set aside their differences and pursue their highest ideals. By taking to heart the example of the Academy's distinguished honorees, the student delegates may learn to fulfill their own potential for leadership and build a better world for all.
Academy of Achievement Class of 2005
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama
Richard Axel, M.D.
2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra
Baseball Hall of Fame
Sir John R.H. Bond
Chairman, HSBC Holdings
Linda Buck, M.D.
2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine
Aaron Ciechanover, M.D.
2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Co-Anchor,"The Today Show"
The Honorable Shirin Ebadi
Nobel Prize for Peace
Two Oscars for Best Actress
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
The Honorable Alberto R. Gonzales
Attorney General of the United States
David J. Gross, Ph.D.
2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
First Lady of Fashion
Susan Hockfield, Ph.D.
President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
National Book Award
The Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy
Supreme Court of the United States
Bernard Kouchner, M.D.
Founder, Doctors Without Borders
The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta
U.S. Secretary of Transportation
His Excellency Festus G. Mogae
President of the Republic of Botswana
Professor Toni Morrison
Nobel Prize for Literature
Virtuoso of the Violin
Hero of "Hotel Rwanda"
Moderator, "Meet the Press"
John Sexton, Ph.D.
President, New York University
Award-winning Composer and Lyricist
The Honorable Lawrence H. Summers
President, Harvard University
His Excellency Abdoulaye Wade
President of the Republic of Senegal
Oscar for Best Actor
Frank Wilczek, Ph.D.
2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
America's Master Novelist
The 42nd President of the United States, William J. Clinton, addresses his fellow Academy members and student delegates at the 2005 International Achievement Summit.
A member of the Academy's Awards Council, veteran newsman Mike Wallace, with Summit Host Chairman Catherine B. Reynolds.
Academy member Thomas Friedman discusses the effects of globalization.
A member of the Class of 2005, Today Show co-anchor Katie Couric.
MIT President, Dr. Susan Hockfield, with a fellow member of the Academy, Her Excellency Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia, and her husband, Imants Freibergs.
Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra is inducted into the Academy by track and field legend Sir Roger Bannister.
Former CIA Director, Academy Member George Tenet, and Chris Matthews.
In a ceremony at Gracie Mansion, Meet the Press host Tim Russert is inducted into the Academy by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Three recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, playwright Tony Kushner and Academy members Stephen Sondheim and Edward Albee, discuss the role of the arts in society.
Sally Field and Denzel Washington, 2005 honorees, participate in a panel discussion with Awards Council member James Earl Jones.
George Lucas, a member of the Academy's Awards Council, takes questions from student delegates.
Wynton Marsalis welcomes fellow members and guests of the Academy to Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Lech Walesa and Sally Field applaud the performers, along with other members of the Academy.
Jazz at Lincoln Center's Allen Room provides a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline for a celebration of Faith and the Human Spirit.
Academy members Wynton Marsalis and Kathleen Battle perform together.
Awards Council member Elie Wiesel spoke on "Faith and the Human Spirit."
Elie Wiesel presented the Gold Medal to a new honoree, Itzhak Perlman.
Dr. Shirin Ebadi, a member of the Class of 2005 and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, receives an ovation at the United Nations.
A new honoree, Botswana's President Festus Mogae, speaking at the UN.
Harvard President Lawrence Summers and NYU President John Sexton announce the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellows for Social Entrepreneurship at Harvard and New York Universities during the 2005 Academy of Achievement Summit.
[ John Sexton Audio ] Quicktime
[ Lawrence Summers Audio ] Quicktime
[ Lawrence Summers Text ] PDF
Toni Morrison, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, was inducted into the Academy during the 2005 Summit.
Google co-founder Larry Page first attended the Summit as a student; he returns once more as a member of the Awards Council.
Justice Anthony Kennedy and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales join the Academy at the 2005 Summit.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a new honoree, with Awards Council member Ralph Nader.
A new honoree, novelist Tom Wolfe, speaks to Academy student delegates.
A member of the Awards Council, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, makes an inspiring presentation at the Summit.
Academy members B.B. King and Colin Powell before the Banquet.
Members of the Class of 2005, the founder of Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, and award-winning actress Sally Field.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, his wife Becky and his fellow honoree, novelist John Irving, arrive at the Banquet of the Golden Plate.
Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan receives her award at the Banquet.
Michael J. Fox is inducted into the Academy by Olympic figure-skating champion Dorothy Hamill.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is presented with the Golden Plate by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
The real-life hero of Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, receives the Golden Plate from opera singer Leontyne Price.
A new honoree of the Academy, rock and roll legend John Fogerty, sings at the Banquet of the Golden Plate.