Sister Cities International Awards the 2019 Dwight D. Eisenhower Peace Prize to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

WASHINGTON, DC (July 8, 2019) – Sister Cities International is honored to present the 2019 Eisenhower Peace Prize to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Ms. Kennedy Townsend will receive the prize at Sister Cities International’s 2019 Annual Conference Opening Ceremony and Parade of Flags on Thursday morning, July 18 in Houston, Texas. Every year Sister Cities International awards the Eisenhower Peace Prize to a nationally recognized leader whose lifetime of public service exemplifies, epitomizes, and promotes the value of the citizen diplomat in the timeless, noble cause of advancing world peace.

“Sister Cities is just the kind of citizen diplomacy for which the world yearns,” said Ms. Townsend. “I am deeply honored to receive the Eisenhower Prize as a mark of the Sister Cities bi-partisan commitment to working across cultures, languages and countries.  This is the best way to build more peaceful and productive societies.” Roger-Mark De Souza, President and CEO of Sister Cities International noted that “Ms. Kennedy Townsend is an exceptional citizen diplomat whose long service to the American people captures President Eisenhower’s vision of peacebuilding through developing relationships of mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.”

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is Director of Retirement Security at the Economic Policy Institute and the founder of the Center for Retirement Security at Georgetown University, where she is a Research Professor. She is also the founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Ms. Kennedy Townsend has long supported citizen diplomacy efforts, particularly with Kawasaki, Japan, the Sister City of Baltimore.

She has served with distinction in both the private and public arenas. She was Maryland’s first woman Lt. Governor, has served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States, and has been appointed Special Advisor at the Department of State. Prior to serving at the Department of Justice, Ms. Townsend led the fight to make Maryland the first—and only—state to make volunteer services a high school graduation requirement. She has even been a Managing Director of Rock Creek, the largest women owned asset management firm with states, foundation, unions and corporate pension funds for clients.

She has chaired the Institute of Human Virology founded by Dr. Robert Gallo, which treats over 700,000 patients in Africa as part of the PEPFAR program. She has also chaired the Robert Kennedy Memorial, and has been on the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, she has taught foreign policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland; and has been a visiting Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.  She has served on a number of boards including the Export-Import Bank; Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); the Wilderness Society; the Points of Light Foundation; the National Catholic Reporter and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research; the Baltimore Urban League the Center for American Progress; Lightbridge Corporation; and New Tower Trust. Ms. Townsend is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and the Inter-American Dialogue; and is the Vice-Chair of the Future of Science conference held in Venice, Italy.

As an honors graduate of Harvard University, Ms. Townsend received her law degree from the University of New Mexico where she was a member of the law review. She also has received fourteen honorary degrees; and her book, Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches Mixed God with Politics and Lost Their Way has been published by Warner Books since March 2007.

About Sister Cities International

Sister Cities International has awarded the Sister Cities International Dwight D. Eisenhower Peace Prize since 2016, the 60th Anniversary of the White House Summit on Citizen Diplomacy convened by President Eisenhower. Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for over 500 individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States with relationships in over 2,000 communities in 140 countries on six continents. The sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote the organizations’ mission of creating world peace and understanding through economic development, youth and education, arts and culture, and humanitarian assistance.


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