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Academy of Achievement: 2003 Student Letters
Academy of Achievement: Student Letters

Ms. Brakenhielm has completed a Master of Science in Neurochemistry at the University of Stockholm; she is now pursuing doctoral studies at the KarolinskaInstitute's Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center. Her research has appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and most recently an article on therapeutic angiogenesis in Nature Medicine. Last May, she defended her doctoral thesis in Medicine; her topic was "The role of neovascularization in adipose tissue." On completing her postgraduate studies, she looks forward to pursuing an academic career in medical research.




May 18th 2003

Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, President and CEO
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds,

I hope this letter finds you well! I am writing to you from a sunny Sweden, which is finally warming up for the summer. At the moment, I am preparing for my Ph.D. thesis defense, which will take place here at the Karolinska Institutet within one week. I would like to express my most sincere thanks to you for enabling my participation as a student delegate in the Academy of Achievement Summit 2003. This event was truly fantastic in many respects, both with an incredible number of most distinguished speakers and honoree guests, as well as with wonderful arrangements and opportunities for us students to be able to attend and interact during this meeting! !

I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the meeting, and with the most ambitious and fascinating program that we were allowed to participate in. In particular, I was very pleased to meet Drs. Charles Townes, Francis Collins, Andrew Weil and Robert Langer, whom I have long admired. Furthermore, as a woman, at this Summit it was most inspiring for me to be able to listen to such excellent Achievers as Justice O'Connor, Hillary Clinton, Dr. Susan Greenfield, and AdmiraI/Dr. Susan Blumenthal. All the speakers in this Summit were very encouraging, with their messages that with true dedication and hard work, individuals really can make a change to contribute to a better World!! The most heart-warming speech, however, I think came from Desmond Tutu! I was truly very touched by his appearance, and I will never forget his smile as he rushed off the stage after his talk.

Everything - from the amazing dinners at the Supreme Court and the beautiful National Gallery of Art, to the luncheon at Vice President Cheney's garden, and the Ball at the Mellon, was most sublime and exquisite! Further, Aretha Franklin is one of my absolute all-time favorite singers, and I cannot express how happy I felt dancing right by the stage as she sang! I am astounded and in awe of your Organization and the Academy that so generously reaches out to students from all over the World inviting us to this most unique Summit. Never before have I, as a medical research student, encountered such a diverse set of extremely talented, highly social as well as politically and socially engaged students!




It was so inspiring for me to be able to discuss many aspects of life; from medicine to politics and educational system, with my fellow student delegates! I made several new friends at this meeting, all extraordinary individuals that I don't think I would ever have meet would it not have been for the Academy of Achievement! Listening to their incredible engagement in social issues, both helping to educate and inspire other, younger students as well as assisting in many different non-profit organizations, made me reevaluate the way I see myself. I think this meeting has really changed my views on my own capabilities and my role for the future. I have begun to better appreciate the responsibility that each individual has in his or her life to reach out and actively try to bring about change for the better. I am now even more convinced that my life can be of importance to the benefit of society, not only as a future scientist, but also as a human being with skills to inspire and encourage others! Your Organization has proven to me the impact that such encouragement can have in peoples' lives! Once again, I would like to most sincerely thank you and your husband, Mr. Reynolds, for arranging this Summit and for so kindly inviting me to participate!

Thank you again for sponsoring my attendance at the International Achievement Summit. I had the time of my life.

With the Very Best Regards from Sweden,

Ebba Brakenhielm
Graduate student in Tumor Biology
Karolinska lnstitutet, Stockholm, Sweden


At the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Ensign Drew was Commander of Fourth Battalion, responsible for 700 midshipmen. In the summer of 2001, he trained at the United States Marine Corps Leatherneck Program, sailed the North Sea with the Royal Belgium Naval Foreign Exchange Program, and worked as a summer intern at the Pentagon in the Department of Asian and Pacific Affairs. In his senior year, he was selected for the USA Today Academic All-American Team, as one of America's top 60 students. He graduated with a B.S. in Control Systems Engineering and is now pursuing an M.A. in U.S. National Security Studies at the Georgetown University Center for Peace and Security Studies.




May 13, 2003

Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, CEO, and President
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds:

I would like to sincerely thank you for your sponsorship that enabled me to attend the 2003 International Achievement Summit. Prior to receiving my invitation in October of 2002, I had heard from a host of previous student attendees about the significance and excellence of the Summit. Having now had the esteemed opportunity to attend the event myself, I can honestly say that what I heard paled in comparison to what I have now experienced.

Aside from discussing the significance of Night with Elie Wiesel during breakfast, conversing with Leonard Lauder about leadership during lunch, and asking Shimon Peres about the Arab/Israeli peace process over a drink (all in one day), I was also privileged to meet remarkable and inspirational young people from around the globe. Although I cannot recount in this letter every memorable experience, I can assure you that every day was packed with testaments of individual accomplishment, unparalleled sacrifice, and pure determination to achieve.

In the future, I firmly believe that I will look back on the men and women of exceptional accomplishment that attended the Summit as a source of inspiration. For this reason, I would like to express my gratitude for your allowing me to attend the Summit. I also genuinely hope that this event will be continued in the future so that other students will be afforded the same opportunity to be inspired.

Warmest Regards,

Benjamin Drew
Georgetown University


Valedictorian of her class at New York University, Ms. Johnson received a B.A. in Psychology with Honors, summa cum laude. At Johns Hopkins University, she is now pursuing an M.D. from the School of Medicine, and a Ph.D. from the University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. During medical studies, Ms. Johnson has participated in community service and mentoring aimed at exposing African American youth from inner-city Baltimore to the possibility of careers in medicine and public health. She was recognized by Ebony magazine as one of "30 Leaders of the Future" for her leadership activities, which include serving as the 38th National President of the Student National Medical Association.




May 12, 2003

Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, CEO and President
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds,

It is difficult for me to articulate how much I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the 42nd Annual International Achievement Summit held from April 30th - May 4th, 2003 in Washington, DC. I want to express my deepest gratitude to you for sponsoring the Summit and for serving as my sponsor as well. Your generous commitment to honoring achievement and inspiring young people to live up to all of their potential is truly commendable. The Summit has left quite an impression on me.

The five-day event was filled with unparalleled opportunities to gain insight and perspective from many men and women who have served as sources of inspiration to me throughout my life. I returned to the Johns Hopkins University campus with a renewed commitment to complete my studies and use the knowledge, privilege and opportunity that I have been given to improve the lives of others, as so many of the leaders and visionaries I met at the Summit have done. Not only did I find inspiration and instruction in the words, deeds and accomplishments of Golden Plate Honorees like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Senators Clinton and Frist; but I also found insight in the words, deeds and accomplishments of my fellow Honor Delegates.

Furthermore, I am truly grateful to The Academy of Achievement for taking time and effort to connect me with Assistant Surgeon General, Dr. Susan Blumenthal. She is a remarkable woman whose advice and perspective are of great value to me as I take the next steps in my career in pediatrics, public health research, and child advocacy. She was incredibly warm, receptive and encouraging to me during the Summit, and I look forward to cultivating a meaningful mentoring relationship with her.




The opportunity to attend the International Achievement Summit has left me with a renewed sense of hope and a belief in the possibility of a better future for all the people of the world. I cannot thank you enough for making my participation in this glorious celebration of the achievements of gifted and inspired individuals possible.

With sincere appreciation,

Rachel L. Johnson
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine


After earning a B.S. in Operations Research at the U.S. Air Force Academy, then-Lieutenant Kosinski earned an M.S. in Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M University. He earned his pilot's wings and has served with distinction commanding jet aircraft in support of numerous U.S., NATO and UN operations. He flew combat and humanitarian support missions during the Kosovo Crisis, and coordinated hundreds of NATO missions throughout the air campaign. He spent two years studying at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, where he earned an MBA and received the Dean's Award for graduating in top academic standing. He is now completing an M.A. at the Fletcher School, specializing in International Security Studies.




May 10, 2003

Ms. Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, CEO and President
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Catherine Reynolds:

Greetings from the Fletcher School! I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for your generous sponsorship in providing me the opportunity to attend the International Achievement Summit in Washington, DC. This was a tremendous honor as well as a lifelong memory which I will truly treasure.

Fortunately, I was able to arrive on Wednesday for the pre-Summit activities (and festivities). To tell you the truth, after checking in to our wonderful accommodations, heading off to the Supreme Court to hear an impromptu talk by Secretary Colin Powell and the Justices, and then being treated to that lavish dinner, any expectations I had were far surpassed. After Wednesday evening, I would have happily returned home elated with having had such a good time and an amazing experience. Incredibly though, as the Summit progressed so did the quality of my experiences. It was not as if any one speaker was better then the next, rather it was the continual exposure to their level of achievements and personal insight that was quite overwhelming and truly inspirational. The artists were also amazing. Before Saturday evening, I couldn't fathom an act that could follow Ray Charles, but as we witnessed, the dance floor continued to joyously erupt with jubilation and appreciation for a most memorable evening and the culmination of the Summit events. It was as if the Summit was orchestrated to end in a spectacular crescendo so memorable and inspiring that it will surely continue in the lives of all the participants.

I am also very grateful for all of the opportunities to interact and befriend fellow student delegates. It was such a pleasure to engage in diverse conversations and share our experiences together. Just this weekend, one of my new friends, Joe Lawler (morning jogging partner from the Summit), visited us while on a business trip in Boston. Again, I thank you for your thoughtfulness in providing us these opportunities.




For me this opportunity has even greater significance since, as an Olmsted Scholar, I represented the first class of Olmsted Scholars to attend this prestigious event. The Olmsted Foundation, sending its first class to study abroad in 1960, shares in your vision of creating leaders with a global vision. I will take away the tremendous experiences from the Summit and enthusiastically share the knowledge with those in my organization. I sincerely hope that this precious opportunity can continue for future Olmsted Scholars.

Again, my deepest thanks for your kind gift which made this opportunity possible.

Respectfully yours,

Leonard J. Kosinski
Major (Select), U.S. Air Force
Olmsted Scholar, Fletcher School, Tufts University


Mr. Newman received his B.A. in Economics and Philosophy at the University of Regina, in Canada. He earned a Bachelor of Laws with Great Distinction at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law, and received the Law Society Gold Medal as top graduate. He is a member of the Ontario bar. As a Rhodes Scholar, he has earned a Bachelor of Civil Law with Distinction at Oxford. He has served as a Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, and as an Intern with the Human Rights Committee of South Africa in Cape Town and the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong. He is now writing his M.Phil. thesis on "Community and Collective Rights."




11 May 2003

Catherine B. Reynolds,
Chairman, CEO, and President
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds:

I write to thank you for making it possible for me to attend as a student delegate at the International Achievement Summit in Washington. The event was both interesting and inspiring, and I am grateful for having had the chance to attend.

To have had the chance to hear from one of the speakers at the event would have been interesting and by no means commonplace. To have heard from all of them in one weekend in such a format as we did was beyond anything I would ever have imagined. The result could not have been anything other than tremendously interesting. We heard words of experience and words of hope, words of challenging and words of wisdom.

Though all of us will no doubt have been inspired in common by such figures as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, each of us will also have taken away from the event our own bits of personal inspiration. I know that I found inspiration in meeting someone else from the same far-flung area of Canada as that from which I come, the Canadian prairies, and realising that he had gone on to win a Nobel Prize in Physics. I know that I found inspiration in hearing from people from the same area of studies as myself, the study of law, and realising that they have gone on to change the world. I left the event with a deep and abiding realisation that each of us, with hard work, dedication, and vision can strive after achievement in some of its various forms and thereby make a difference to our shared human life.

I deeply appreciate having had the opportunity to attend. I thank you sincerely, and I trust that you will go on to make opportunities available to others, further manifesting your commitment to youth and the possibilities inherent in those inspired and motivated to make a better world.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Dwight Newman
Rhodes Scholar, St. John's College, Oxford


At Harvard, Mr. Patton is exploring the intersections between legal theory, intellectual history and contemporary political philosophy. His academic interests are partly the product of his experiences as a summer researcher at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in Northern Ireland. He is a law graduate of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was the recipient of several awards, including the Parry Prize for International Law and the Five Raymond Buildings Prize for Human Rights Law. As a native Gaelic speaker with an abiding pleasure in mastering new languages, he also achieved distinctions in his French and German diplomas, and is now learning Italian.




May 7, 2003

Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, CEO and President
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds,

I write to express my sincerest gratitude to you for having so generously hosted this year's International Achievement Summit. Since returning to Harvard, I have found it difficult to believe that only days ago I was attending such an astonishing event. Indeed, even during the summit I found it difficult to suppress the sensation of being in a dream, so amazing and incredible was each successive event that you organized for us. Certainly, I have encountered more than a few incredulous faces as I've tried to describe to my friends all the interesting and impressive people I met over the course of last week.

Among the highlights of the week were: the surprise arrival of Secretary of State Powell during our visit to the Supreme Court, a memory that will always delight me to recall; the sincerity and compassion shown by honoree Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his sensitive and thought-provoking remarks; those panel interviews conducted by your friend Sam Donaldson, who so skillfully weaved his own incisive and energetic questioning with the many thoughtful enquiries being posed by my fellow student delegates, creating as a result a broad and rich debate in each case; and more generally, the opportunity to get to know and to spend time with the other student delegates who were all extremely gregarious and, in a very real way, inspiring.

In looking back at one of the most memorable and formative experiences of my life so far, I take away two particular lessons. First of all, I feel humbled by your faith in myself and in the other student delegates, as manifested not only by your investment of so much time and money into the organization of the Summit but also in the stellar figures whose presence in our midst you secured. Secondly, I draw from this faith the appropriate conclusions, namely: the importance of giving similarly generous encouragement to young people as I progress in my own chosen field, the law; and more broadly, I reflect on the sense of responsibility that the faith of others inspires, and the necessity of fulfilling those responsibilities through involvement in public service.




For me this opportunity has even greater significance since, as an Olmsted Scholar, I represented the first class of Olmsted Scholars to attend this prestigious event. The Olmsted Foundation, sending its first class to study abroad in 1960, shares in your vision of creating leaders with a global vision. I will take away the tremendous experiences from the Summit and enthusiastically share the knowledge with those in my organization. I sincerely hope that this precious opportunity can continue for future Olmsted Scholars.

Again, my deepest thanks for your kind gift which made this opportunity possible.

Yours faithfully,

Conall Patton
Kennedy Scholar, Harvard University


At the University of Delaware, Mr. Pellathy received a B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy, and an M.A. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. Last year, building on work he carried out at a migration policy institute in Vienna in 1998 and in the Balkans in the wake of the Kosovo crisis in 1999, he completed a one-year Master's degree in Forced Migration at Oxford. He is now pursuing doctoral studies in Economic and Social History at Oxford. He spent last summer researching transnational migrant communities and their impact on local socio-economic development in Mexico and the United States. He is writing his thesis on "Migration's Countervailing Forces: Market Integration and Labor Factor Mobility in the Americas."




May 11, 2003

Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, CEO, and President
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds,

Thank you so much for the extraordinary experience of participating in the International Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C. last weekend! The Summit was truly a unique and inspiration series of events, and it was an honor to be able to participate and interact with the incredible group of people that the Academy of Achievement hosted.

Like so many other of the student invitees, I was not sure what to expect from the Summit and the Academy of Achievement. I had of course heard stories from friends who had attended last year's events in Dublin. The truth is, however, that stories told afterwards to friends and family do not do the Summit justice.

There were certainly plenty of memorable moments: listening to former Senator George Mitchell and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak discuss the Middle East peace process; discussing American history with Ken Burns and integrative medicine with Andrew Weil; meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and analyzing the question and answer session of Senators McCain, Clinton, Lott, Daschle, and Frist with Sam Donaldson over lunch at the Vice-President's residence.

And of course there were the other student delegates -- an extraordinarily talented assembly of people from around the world. In addition to everything else, the Summit was a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with a group of our peers from around the world, to discuss pressing (and not so pressing) issues from a variety of different prospectives, and to forge new friendships. In fact, one of the most important things I carry away with me from the Summit is this new group of friends.

But through it all, I think what made the entire experience of the Summit so remarkable was the willingness of this distinguished and accomplished group of people to engage with one another in a very open and personal way. This gave rise to an environment that fostered relaxed and meaningful interactions -- so much so that at the black-tie dinner on Saturday, it seemed perfectly natural to see Bill Clinton introduce Ray Charles, chat with Tom Friedman and Leonard Lauder while Aretha Franklin sang, and dance to the music of Chuck Berry along with Shimon Peres! For us student delegates, the naturalness and collegiality with which the events unfolded was something very special.




Throughout the Summit, it was emphasized how much value the various honorees and members of the Academy gained from interacting with us students. I can only hope that this was the case -- because I know that we as student delegates left feeling confident of our convictions and inspired to achieve greatness from interacting with individuals whom we have looked up to and respected for much of our lives.

In the week that has passed since the end of the Summit, I have had time to reflect on the Summit and what it all means, and again and again I come back to what seemed to be the message of so many of the members of the Academy: the need to pursue one's ideals with passion, courage, and conviction (and maybe a bit of humor); the enormous potential of dedicated and principled individuals to change the world; and -- as Elie Wiesel so eloquently pointed out -- the need to maintain hope by caring about others.

Like the other participants of the Summit, I carry away with me not only some very memorable experiences and an extraordinary group of new friends, but new inspiration, a strengthened commitment to my principles and ideals, and a tremendous sense of potential and hope for the future.

Thank you again.

Very sincerely yours,

Thomas M. Pellathy
Rhodes Scholar, Wolfson College, Oxford


While an undergraduate at Yale University, Mr. Schoenfeld worked for two years as a Research Assistant in the Pathology Department of Yale Medical School. He also spent a summer as a Research Assistant in Maternal Fetal Medicine at New York University School of Medicine; his research was presented in Paris at the XVII Congress of the International Society of Thrombosis & Haemostasis. He graduated summa cum laude, earning a B.S. with Distinction in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology. He has deferred acceptance to Harvard Medical School to accept the Gates Scholarship. He is now pursuing an M.Phil in Biological Sciences at Cambridge




May 11, 2003

Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, President and CEO
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mrs. Reynolds,

As a student participant in last week's Achievement Summit, I wanted to express my gratitude for making such an extraordinary event possible. The Summit was an incredible surprise; I knew nothing about the Academy when I was invited and now I consider the last weekend as one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of my life.

As I am studying Biology as a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge this year and plan to begin medical school in the fall, it was inspiring to meet some of the world's most accomplished and renowned doctors and researchers. Dr. Carson's story is truly inspiring and it was thrilling to hear from him in person. Before coming to the conference, I would not have guessed that I'd be listening to Drs. Gearhart and Rosenberg debate stem cell and cancer research, or discussing the Human Genome Project with Dr. Collins.

Equally memorable was the opportunity to meet the other leaders in attendance at the Summit and observe them interact with each other. At lunch at the Vice President's Residence, I was delighted to hear Mike Wallace and Ralph Nader share stories of their distinguished careers. As a New Yorker, I was honored to meet Mayor Guiliani. As an American studying abroad in a year marked by international dissent, it was reassuring to hear world leaders like President Clinton, Shimon Peres and Colin Powell talk about their faith in the future of a global democratic community.

I could go on and on about the memorable experiences I had, or about the extraordinary people, both honored guests and student delegates, that I was able to meet. Suffice it to say that I return to Cambridge inspired and invigorated, and with renewed hope that perhaps one day my work may give inspiration to others.

Sincerely yours,

Jonathan Schoenfeld
Gates Scholar, University of Cambridge


Before going to Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Mr. Sweet conducted research in bioremediation of lead-contaminated soils at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. Between terms at Wheaton, he was a Research Intern at Battelle Coastal Resources and Ecosystem Management. He received National Science Foundation grants to conduct research at North Carolina State University and at the UniversitŽ Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in Chemistry. He is now studying for a doctorate in Organic Chemistry at Oxford. He looks forward to a career in science and technology policy or intellectual property law.




14 May 2003

Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, CEO and President
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds:

I have been trying in the past week to give words to the many thoughts and emotions that have emerged as I reflect on my experiences at the 2003 International Achievement Summit.

The award of a Rhodes Scholarship has generated many unique opportunities for me to meet all manner of world leaders and great achievers, but none quite as spectacular as those few days back in the States.

What distinguished this symposium from any other that I have been fortunate to attend was the significant level of interaction between the accomplished panelists and presenters and the student delegates. It was an exceptional indulgence for me to be able to discuss over lunch the critical importance of science and technology in public policy with Drs. Francis Collins and Rita Colwell. It was stimulating to engage the Senate leadership in a frank debate about American foreign and domestic policies. It was inspiring to bear witness to the courage of President Alvaro Uribe and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

It was a very special occasion, and a very poignant moment, when I met George Mitchell. I am originally from Fairfield, Maine, and grew up only minutes from the former Senator's boyhood home in neighboring Waterville. When my brother and I were young, while my father worked at one of three full-time jobs, I helped my mother clean houses part-time, including that of Mr. Mitchell's sister. When Mr. Mitchell became Senate Majority Leader in the late 1980's, and I realized why the face in those pictures I had been dusting at his sister's house was so familiar, my mother told me about how young George used to accompany his father when he worked nights as a custodian at nearby Colby College. That story had a remarkable impact on me at the time, because I came to understand that Senator Mitchell and I are literally from the "same side of the tracks." For as long as I can remember, George Mitchell has been a role model for me, and it was a distinct honor to finally meet him. Indeed, when I told my parents about that extraordinary Saturday, they were in awe of the privileged dinner and concert featuring Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, impressed at the list of honorees recognized with Golden Plates that evening, but most excited that I had been able to meet George Mitchell that morning.




I wanted to share that particular anecdote with you because I feel that it best demonstrates how powerful and formative those few days in D.C. were towards further shaping my own confidence and motivating my aspirations. My parents have worked to ensure that my brother and I could pursue the educational opportunities that they never had, and like Mr. Mitchell and Senator Daschle, I was the first in my family to attend college. Like you and your husband, they also strive for us to recognize that with diligence and determination, underscored by a firm sense of civic responsibility that acknowledges our innate leadership qualities, we can develop the same potential for important achievement as Senator Mitchell, Senator Daschle, and the many other notables you brought together. It was for me an illustration of the brilliant tone for the weekend's events that author Herman Wouk struck the first night at the Lincoln Memorial when he sought to humanize the former president's achievements. When my colleagues in the chemistry laboratory back in Oxford wondered if I was intimidated to lunch with a Nobel Prizewinning physicist, or ask a pointed question of a former Israeli Prime Minister, I realized that the short-lived personal relationships we students were able to establish with those luminaries, and the exacting attention they paid to us as the future generation of "exemplars of excellence," resolved to bolster a greater sense of self-awareness and self-assurance. Their challenge for us to maintain that individual drive toward a collaborative dream, and their willingness to serve a mentoring role in our collective development, fostered a creative energy and shared commitment.

In the end, however, although the celebrity factor was the draw, the affable and intellectually stimulating conversations and informed discussions with the international community of student delegates was what held the major appeal. For numerous reasons, it is an undeniably difficult time to be an American student living abroad, especially one at odds with the direction of the current administration, but the talent and vision of the students gave me hope and inspiration.

I wish to express again my gratitude for the fantastic program that you, your husband, and your extensive team organized, and for your sponsorship that allowed me to participate. Thank you!

Very sincerely yours,

Miles J. Sweet
Rhodes Scholar, Holywell Manor, Oxford


Ms. Adelson graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with a B.A. in American Studies and Peace and Conflicts Studies. A Junior Fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and intern for the Aspen Institute's International Peace, Security and Prosperity Program, she has volunteered much time to the Children's Defense Fund, the Brandeis Big Siblings program and work with prison inmates. As an intern with Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo she interviewed the relatives of missing prisoners of conscience in Argentina. She has worked as a translator for Nobel Peace Prize Winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel in the field of Third World debt reduction.




June 11, 2002

Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, President and CEO
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds:

This past weekend at the International Achievement Summit was the most incredible couple of days of my short life. I wish I could think of sufficient words to express my gratitude to you for this amazing opportunity. I feel so incredibly honored and lucky to have been given the chance to talk about education reform with Frank McCourt, debt relief with Bono, educating refugees with President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, and the problem of internationally displaced persons in Colombia with the country's outgoing president. There were so many more outstanding encounters and memorable moments during a weekend that will stay with me always.

I leave the Summit feeling recharged and inspired to continue pursuing my passions directed toward achieving positive social change. After meeting leaders from around the world, I know that I can accomplish my dreams if I am passionately dedicated to my work and believe in myself. I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for me and for other young people from around the world.

Most sincerely,

Wendi J. Adelson
Truman Scholar, Brandeis University


After graduating with honors from Franklin and Marshall College, Mr. McGuinn taught at the Queen Anne School, where he was selected by students as the teacher of the year. This experience led him to graduate study of government at the University of Virginia (UVA), where he has earned Master's degrees in Government and Educational Policy, and served as President of the Graduate Student Council. He is now a National Fellow in American Political Development at the Universityıs Miller Center for Public Affairs and is completing his dissertation on the evolution of federal education policy.




June 12, 2002

Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, President and CEO
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Mrs. Reynolds:

Thank you!!! I wanted to express my deep appreciation to you for sponsoring my participation in the extraordinary Academy of Achievement Summit in Dublin. The summit was truly one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I have been regaling my family and friends with stories of the many amazing things that I encountered at the conference since my return.

The summit provided me with a phenomenal opportunity to interact with a remarkable group of students and leaders from around the world. It was wonderful to attend symposia by internationally-renowned experts on such a wide variety of topics and to be able to discuss public policy issues with a number of current and future leaders from diverse backgrounds. While at the summit I had a number of stimulating discussions about politics and education policy (my areas of research) with leaders such as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Ralph Nader as well as with my fellow graduate and professional students.

I have returned from the summit energized and inspired and determined to rededicate myself to providing leadership to improve my community, nation, and world. I also came away from the summit with a number of new friendships and a network of committed and capable students that I am certain will facilitate cooperation among the leaders of my generation, both at home and abroad.

With great appreciation,

Patrick J. McGuinn
Miller Center for Public Policy, University of Virginia


Dr. Lieder received her doctorate from the University of Heidelberg Medical School Department of Endocrinology. She undertook Clinical Electives in Surgery at the West Cumberland Hospital and at the Royal Marsden Hospital in England, and has performed additional Clinical Electives in ENT Medicine, in Public Health Care, and in General Internal Medicine at hospitals in Germany. She took her Final Year Rotation in Internal Medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and her Final Year Rotation in Surgery with Dr. Denton Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. She has passed her United States Medical License Examination and spent a year in Residency in Plastic and Hand Surgery in Dessau, Germany. After completing her D.Phil. at the Nuffield Department of Surgery, at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, she intends to specialize in plastic surgery.




Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds
Chairman, President and CEO
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Washington, DC

Dear Mrs. Reynolds,

It is very rare in one's life that one is surrounded for even so short a time with such a constellation of outstanding personalities, and this is merely a modest attempt to express my gratitude for being chosen as an honor student and to share with you my reflections on the International Achievement Summit in London.

I am a doctor from Eastern Germany. I came to Oxford by chance, or if one wants, goodwill. Besides trying to keep track while holding two jobs, I was curious. Curious to know how to return some of the good I had experienced through the change in the former Communist Bloc to Medical School, my first position as a trainee surgeon and finally a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Medicine in Oxford. I decided I wanted to receive the best possible training, become a dedicated reconstructive Surgeon, and provide the best care with my patients being the highest priority. Having spent a long time in hospital during adolescence, and having worked with many cancer patients, I knew good doctors would always be appreciated, and I want to be as good as possible.

Your kind invitation took me really by surprise. I was wandering back and found it in my mailbox. Neither my friend nor I had heard of the Academy and we were intrigued. Coming down to London for the event was different to my usual professional or leisurely trips to London, first of all I met a fellow Heidelberg student right in my hotel room! During the first evening, we talked to some other student honorees, and by day four, I think we had met most of them, apart from the people I already knew from Oxford. I found it especially interesting to talk to people working in health related fields from different universities, and many a fruitful discussion on a more approachable, affordable healthcare system, disease prevention or simply where we saw our future, were held over meals and during breaks and in hotel bars... but I would have been pretty narrow-minded not to take the opportunity to meet students from different courses.

I rarely had a boring moment -- and I have not even spoken about the honorees and academy members yet! The congregation of great scientists, artists and entrepreneurs that had gathered to share some of their experiences with us was amazing, but I hope you will understand the extent of the impact meeting the Honorable Mikhail Gorbachev had.



Back in the 'Eighties, we had seen a seemingly never ending succession of Secretaries General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after Leonid Brezhnev's demise, and as we were aware that our fate lay not only in the hands of our own, but also the Soviet forces as our allied partner, or brother, as they used to say. George Orwell's words might have seemed scary, but they were true, but of course his book 1984 was illegal so we did not know about it at the time. They came to our military parades; they waved at cheering crowds in Berlin (the Berliners were baited with slightly better food and consumer goods); they conversed with our aging, never changing government; they died. Nothing happened. Well, something happened but we'd rather it hadn't . We witnessed missiles being transported to Soviet Army bases near the West German Border. We were told at school how NASA was bugging space with satellites, and yet another nuclear test in Nevada.

So when Mikhail Gorbachev took the post as Soviet leader, we were not expecting change. We were so wrong. First, Soviet press publications were in great demand. Glasnost meant they would write quite frankly about everything without the ideological bias. Then we noticed subtle changes within the Soviet economy. I was in Moscow in winter '89, being very impressed with the cold and the sights of Moscow, and people would tell me how happy they are with the current situation. My pen pal on the island of Sakhalin, closer to Japan than to Moscow, looked forward to everything. In summer '89 it became clear that our very own government, with the decline of their ideological influence on the masses, and the exodus of thousands over embassies, and then the open border from Hungary to Western Germany, planned further restrictions on public life. Demonstrations were being held and many arrests made, but nothing could stop people from going on the streets. We know the rest from the history books. I feel deeply indebted to the courageous leaders and their action, and I keep thinking without Mikhail Gorbachev and many others we would have had tanks like the Hungarians in the 'Fifties, like the Czechs in the 'Sixties. Or the eve of another war. Who knows?

I would like to thank you. For all these memorable hours which were made possible through your engagement hosting this Achievement Summit and your generous sponsorship.

There were so many other interesting encounters. I had the pleasure to discuss business, family and feminism with Mrs. Margery Kraus. I absolutely adore Jeremy Irons. I ran into the bookshop, bought The Flamingo's Smile and dived right into it after listening to Professor Gould's catching presentation. We quizzed Edna O'Brien about her forthcoming novel. General Krulak encouraged me to stand up and go ask Mikhail Gorbachev whatever I wanted to ask him (plucking up the courage to do it in Russian was my decision, though!), and listening to the Honorable Lech Walesa was memorable, so was the excellent speech given by The Honorable Vaira Víke-Freiberga.




It's been an amazing experience. A true highlight. Thank you so much for making all this possible, also I would like to thank all the people working with the Academy and contributing to the great success of this summit. I do hope that future generations of students will find inspiration in meeting up with people who have excelled, whether it be fellow students or eminent personalities.

As for me, I will be entering the third and final year of my Ph.D., taking the final American Licensing Examination for Medical Doctors next spring, and start my first round of interviews for specialty training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in two weeks.

I'd like to wish you everything a very grateful and happy person could wish, and would like to thank you for choosing me as an honor student.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Anja Lieder
Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University