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2003 Summit

Washington, D.C.

The Academy of Achievement brought 220 graduate students from 44 countries to Washington, D.C. for the 42nd annual International Achievement Summit, April 30-May 2, 2003.

International student delegates of the American Academy of Achievement at the United States Supreme Court after a dinner hosted by Awards Council members Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
International student delegates of the American Academy of Achievement at the United States Supreme Court after a dinner hosted by Awards Council members Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

From April 30 to May 4, 2003, more than 220 outstanding graduate students from 44 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. to join the world’s leaders in public affairs, business, science and the arts at the 42nd annual International Achievement Summit.

Academy members Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with her husband Martin, and U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell at the United States Supreme Court at the Summit’s Introductory Symposium.

Twenty-two new honorees were inducted into the Academy of Achievement; among the past and present honorees of the Academy in attendance were the 42nd President of the United States, William J. Clinton; Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia; the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Velez; the former Prime Minister of Israel, His Excellency Ehud Barak; United States Senators Bill Frist, Ted Stevens, Tom Daschle, Trent Lott, John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton; civil rights activist Coretta Scott King; three recipients of the Nobel Prize for Peace: author Elie Wiesel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and His Excellency Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister of Israel; filmmakers George Lucas and Ken Burns; musicians Kathleen Battle, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry; and authors Herman Wouk, Neil Sheehan, A. Scott Berg, Thomas Friedman and N. Scott Momaday, all recipients of the Pulitzer Prize. The Summit Host was Catherine B. Reynolds, Chairman and CEO of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation.

Internationally acclaimed soprano and Academy of Achievement member Kathleen Battle sings spirituals in the Great Hall of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Introductory Dinner of the 42nd International Achievement Summit.

Academy members and guests stayed at the elegant Hay-Adams Hotel, just across Lafayette Park from the White House. Along with the Academy’s international honor students, Academy members and guests took many of their meals in the hotel’s handsome John Hay Room and in the breathtaking Roof Garden, with its incomparable view of the White House, Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial.

Herman Wouk, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the bestselling novels The Caine Mutiny and The Winds of War, addressing the delegates and members at the Lincoln Memorial, with the Washington Monument in the distance.

Within hours of arriving in Washington, the Academy’s international honor students gathered in the United States Supreme Court for a special evening program. No sooner had they been welcomed to the Court by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor than they were introduced to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Speaking extemporaneously, the Secretary shared his inspiring personal vision of American democracy and took questions from the international students, engaging in a forthright and respectful exchange of views on the recent war in Iraq, before departing on an urgent diplomatic mission in the Middle East. Few who were there will ever forget the Secretary’s generosity in taking the time to meet with the young Academy scholars in the midst of the most momentous current events. In the following discussion with Justices Ginsburg and O’Connor, American students were deeply impressed by the warm and respectful relationship of two jurists who have often disagreed sharply over matters of law. The European students were equally struck by the Justices’ familiarity with European legal systems.

ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson, investigative reporter Bob Woodward, CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace and longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in a panel discussing the influence of the news media.

After this presentation, students were treated to an elegant dinner in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court and a captivating performance by the acclaimed American soprano Kathleen Battle. On their way back to their hotel, students stopped for a moonlight visit to the Lincoln Memorial. There they gathered to hear the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Herman Wouk, who urged them to look past the marble colossus seated above them and see Lincoln the man. “This was a guy,” Wouk said, “one man, born with no advantages, who rose to lead his country and saved it from dissolution.” After these moving words from a great author of the World War II generation, students took the few short steps to the hallowed ground where Americans honor the fallen of another war, at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall. At the entrance to the memorial, they heard a passionate address by Neil Sheehan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning chronicler of that conflict.

Senators John McCain, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Trent Lott engage in a free-spirited discussion in the historic Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building during the 42nd annual International Achievement Summit.

Thursday afternoon’s program began with two provocative panel discussions in the stately Hall of Flags at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. One featured CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, and famed investigative reporter Bob Woodward discussing the responsibilities of the media in a free society, in an uninhibited discussion led by ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson. For the second panel, Sam Donaldson welcomed actor George Clooney, Oscar-winning film director Stephen Soderbergh, screenwriter Henry Bean and former White House adviser Michael Deaver, who discussed their new project, K Street, a television series set in the world of Washington political consultants.

United States Senators John McCain, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trent Lott, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle were presented with the Academy’s Gold Medal by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in the historic Caucus Room.

After a visit to the National Air and Space Museum, where students heard a presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg, all were taken for a private tour of the U.S. Capitol. Academy members and guests attended a reception in the offices of the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, the Honorable Ted Stevens. All joined later for the first full session of the Summit, held in the historic Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building. This imposing venue has been the scene of some of the most dramatic episodes in American history, from the Senate hearings investigating the Titanic disaster to the Watergate and Iran-Contra hearings. On this night, it was the scene of an extraordinarily candid and collegial discussion with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the first honorees of this year’s Summit, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Senators Trent Lott, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. The senators took question after question from the Academy honor students and lingered long after the scheduled program to meet with students and exchange views informally.

Senator John McCain exchanged ideas with delegates after his symposium at the Russell Senate Office Building.

The next morning’s focus shifted from public policy to the latest developments in medical science. The program opened with the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Dr. Francis Collins and famed neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson. They were joined on the stage by stem cell pioneer Dr. John Gearhart, renowned British neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, and Dr. Steven Rosenberg, Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute. These distinguished scientists pursued an enthralling exploration of “The Frontiers of Medicine,” enlivened by questions from the Academy’s many honor students of medicine and the life sciences.

The Honorable Robert S. Strauss, former Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and Catherine B. Reynolds, the Host Chairman of the 2003 International Achievement Summit in Washington, participate in the morning symposium.

The morning’s program also included presentations by marine archaeologist Dr. George F. Bass, international businessman and philanthropist Leonard A. Lauder, and with an intimate adviser to U.S. presidents of both major parties, former Ambassador to the Soviet Union Robert S. Strauss. The program continued with a presentation by the discoverer of “Lucy,” the renowned paleoanthropologist Dr. Donald Johanson, and concluded in a stimulating exchange with the former presidential candidate of the U.S. Green Party, consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

Academy members and delegates gather for a luncheon and symposium hosted by Dr. Lynne V. Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, at Number One Observatory Circle, the official residence of the U.S. Vice President.

The entire assembly then traveled by motorcade for the rare privilege of luncheon at the historic Naval Observatory, the official residence of the Vice President of the United States. The gracious hostess of this luncheon was the wife of Vice President Richard Cheney, the distinguished author and commentator Lynne V. Cheney. The hospitality of the Vice President and Mrs. Cheney to the Academy was especially remarkable given the heightened security environment of Washington in wartime.

Dr. Lynne V. Cheney, second lady of the United States, welcomed the Academy assemblage to the official residence of the Vice President of the United States, Number One Observatory Circle, during the 2003 Achievement Summit.

The afternoon’s session resumed with individual presentations by the President of Colombia, His Excellency Alvaro Uribe Velez, and by two recipients of the Nobel Prize for Peace, author and human rights activist Elie Wiesel, and His Excellency Shimon Peres, the former Prime Minister of Israel.

Filmmaker George Lucas, Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill, and paleontologist Jack Horner outside the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, D.C. for a luncheon and symposium during the 2003 Achievement Summit.

They were joined in a discussion of “The New World Order” with the former President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, and the New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes. The afternoon’s proceedings ended with the induction of President Uribe into the Academy of Achievement.

Elie Wiesel, the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, addressing the delegates and members at the 2003 Summit.

That evening, Academy members, guests and student delegates dined in the glorious rotunda of the National Gallery of Art, where they were entertained by legendary Broadway songstress Barbara Cook, and by some of the extraordinary music students of the Academy: guitarist Robert Belinic of Croatia, singer Barbara Quintiliani of the United States, and the fiery piano and violin virtuosity of Mikhail Simonyan and Alexei Podkorytov of the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra. The evening concluded with the induction of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia into the Academy of Achievement.

Former Prime Minister of Israel, His Excellency Shimon Peres, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, and New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, address the delegates.

Justice Scalia returned to the stage at the Chamber of Commerce on Saturday morning for a free-wheeling discussion with commentator Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC Hardball television program. Their conversation can be heard in the Audio Recordings area of the Academy web site. Justice Scalia was followed by the world’s leading AIDS researcher, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who joined the Assistant Surgeon General of the United States, Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, for a discussion of “Public Health and Public Safety,” moderated by CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace. The morning’s other speakers included the commander of NATO’s successful intervention in Kosovo, General Wesley Clark (USA, Ret.), and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a hero of South Africa’s freedom struggle and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Academy of Achievement honoree Antonin Scalia in a discussion with the delegates and members, moderated by political commentator and author Chris Matthews.

The assembly heard from award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, conservation scientist Thomas Lovejoy (creator of the television series Nature), and from the former Prime Minister of Israel, His Excellency Ehud Barak.

Academy of Achievement honoree Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, joins Academy student delegates for an informal lunch at the International Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C.

Chris Matthews returned to moderate a discussion, “Prospects for Peace,” with former Prime Minister Barak, joined by former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell. The morning session concluded with a question-and-answer session with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard B. Myers.

Members of the American Academy of Achievement, philanthropist and entrepreneur Leonard A. Lauder, and the former Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, the Honorable George J. Mitchell, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate.

In the afternoon, the Academy heard from the creator of the Star Wars films, director George Lucas, and from pioneering archaeologist Margaret Conkey. Chris Matthews led a panel discussion of “Social Entrepreneurism” with the founders of Operation Smile, Dr. William Magee and Kathleen Magee; the founders of Habitat for Humanity, Millard and Linda Fuller; entrepreneur and philanthropist Kenneth E. Behring, founder of Wheelchairs for the World; and civil rights icon Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Honorable Rudolph Giuliani enjoys his discussion with students at the International Achievement Summit.

In the last afternoon session of the Summit, students, Academy members and guests heard from the renowned author and pioneer of integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil; from the Chairman of Fannie Mae, America’s largest provider of home financing, the Honorable Franklin Raines; and from the former Mayor of New York City, the Honorable Rudolph Giuliani. Chris Matthews led Mr. Raines and Washington Post publisher Donald Graham in a discussion of “Civic Leadership” with former Mayor Giuliani, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, and Washington’s own Mayor Anthony Williams.

South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu receives the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award from Coretta Scott King at the Banquet gala ceremonies during the 2003 International Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C.

The weekend’s activities culminated in the dazzling Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies, held in the awe-inspiring Mellon Auditorium, where the treaty creating NATO was first signed in 1949. Opening its massive doors for the first time since a major renovation, the Mellon Auditorium provided a spectacular setting for an unforgettable evening. In a brief ceremony, the newest honorees were inducted into the Academy of Achievement and presented with the Academy’s Golden Plate Award. Presentation of the Colors and playing of the National Anthem by the Marine Corps Color Guard and the President’s Own Marine Orchestra were followed by a medley of patriotic songs led by Patti Austin and three young choirs, entering dramatically from all corners of the vast auditorium.

Two Academy members, William J. Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, and the legendary musician who pioneered soul music during the 1950s, Ray Charles, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate Award gala ceremonies.

In a brief and moving address, the Host of the Achievement Summit, Catherine B. Reynolds, urged the international honor students to dedicate their extraordinary talents to building a more free and peaceful world. She then introduced the 42nd President of the United States, William J. Clinton.

Ray Charles performs “Georgia on My Mind” during the Banquet of the Golden Plate gala at the Mellon Auditorium.

Mr. Clinton spoke of the responsibility the students must now assume as the next generation of world leaders. He cautioned them against being discouraged by the daily tumult of history in the making. “Never mind the headlines,” he told them, “watch the trend lines.” The trend lines are good, he said, in a world where more people live in freedom than at any time in history. After his brief message, he introduced an old hero of his, one of America’s master musicians, Ray Charles. Mr. Charles gave a performance of remarkable depth, giving new life to classics such as “Route 66” and “Georgia on My Mind.”

Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, rocks the house at the Banquet of the Golden Plate gala at the Mellon Auditorium.

After a break, the audience was brought to its feet by a pulse-pounding session with America’s Queen of Soul, Miss Aretha Franklin. Franklin had the audience of students and dignitaries rocking the dance floor with her spine-tingling renditions of “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” and “Think.” She ended by bringing a touch of soul to a dramatic aria from the opera Turandot, with her heart-stopping performance of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.”

Academy member Chuck Berry, one of the pioneers of rock and roll music, performs his classic hits during the Banquet of the Golden Plate gala ceremonies.
Academy member Chuck Berry, a pioneer of rock and roll music, performs at the Banquet of the Golden Plate gala.

At the end of the evening, Academy members, guests and student delegates rose to their feet again as rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry entered from the back of the auditorium, firing stinging guitar riffs as he strode the length of the dance floor and mounted the stage. Fierce workouts of his classic songs had the crowd back on the dance floor. The evening held one more surprise, as a final guest of honor arrived. America’s master songwriter, Bob Dylan, took the stage to be presented with the Golden Plate by one of his own youthful heroes, Chuck Berry.

Rock and Roll pioneer Chuck Berry helps honor legendary musician Bob Dylan at the 2003 International Achievement Summit.
Chuck Berry and 2003 guest of honor Bob Dylan at the Banquet of the Golden Plate Award at Mellon Auditorium.

On that extraordinary tableau, and with the sounds of classic American rhythm and blues ringing in their ears, Academy members, guests, and international honor students departed, carrying unforgettable memories of their visit to Washington. Many will return before long as leaders in public service and representatives of their respective countries, but all will proceed with renewed inspiration, having seen and heard firsthand that in every walk of life, one individual can make a difference.

See what The Washington Post had to say about the 2003 International Achievement Summit.


H.E. José Maria Aznar Lopez
President of Spain
Hillary Clinton
Former U.S. Secretary of State
Margaret W. Conkey, Ph.D.
Archaeologist
Tom Daschle
United States Senate
Plácido Domingo
Internationally Acclaimed Tenor
Bob Dylan
Nobel Prize in Literature
Mikhail Fridman
International Oil and Banking Entrepreneur
Thomas L. Friedman
Three Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism
Rudolph Giuliani
Former Mayor of New York City
Donald E. Graham
The Washington Post
Baroness Susan A. Greenfield
Director, Royal Institution of Great Britain
Leonard A. Lauder
Patron of the Arts
John McCain
United States Senate
Franklin D. Raines
Chairman, Fannie Mae
Antonin Scalia
Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
Robert S. Strauss
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Trent Lott
United States Senate
H.E. Alvaro Uribe Velez
President of the Republic of Colombia

One of the most gratifying aspects of the International Achievement Summit is the heartfelt enthusiasm and genuine, unaffected gratitude of the student honorees.

Ebba Brakenhielm

Karolinska lnstitute, Stockholm, Sweden

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds,

I hope this letter finds you well! I am writing to you from 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 Institute 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 nonprofit 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


Ms. Brakenhielm has completed a master of science in neurochemistry at the University of Stockholm; she is now pursuing doctoral studies at the Karolinska Institute'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.

Benjamin Drew

Georgetown University Center for Peace and Security Studies

Dear Mr. and 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


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.

Rachel L. Johnson

Johns Hopkins University

Dear Mr. and 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


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.

Leonard J. Kosinski

Olmsted Scholar, Fletcher School, Tufts University

Dear Mr. and Mrs. 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 than 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


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.

Dwight Newman

St. John's College, Oxford

Dear Mr. and 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 realizing 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 realizing that they have gone on to change the world. I left the event with a deep and abiding realization 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


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."

Conall Patton

Harvard University

Dear Mr. and 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


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.

Thomas M. Pellathy

Wolfson College, Oxford

Dear Mr. and 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 inspirational 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 others 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


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."

Jonathan Schoenfeld

University of Cambridge

Dear Mr. and 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 Giuliani. 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


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 and 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.

Miles J. Sweet

Holywell Manor, Oxford

Dear Mr. and 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 distinguishes 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 1980s, 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 Prize-winning 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


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 Université 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.