44th Annual Meridian Ball

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44th Annual Meridian Ball Co-Chairs Jay L. Johnson, Chairman & CEO of General Dynamics Corporation and Sydney McNiff Johnson (center) with White-Meyer Co-Chairs Loran (far left) and Robert Aiken (far right).

On October 12, 2012, Meridian International Center hosted its 44th Annual Meridian Ball – the largest-ever Ball in Meridian History.

The 44th Annual Ball was attended by more than 800 of the world’s top corporate, government and diplomatic leaders. The high-profile guest list included - Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of State; Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States; Congressman Joseph Crowley, New York (D); Congressman Mike Rogers, Michigan (R); His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France; His Excellency Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana, Ambassador of Mexico; The Honorable Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice; Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); Howard Fineman, Editorial Director of the Huffington Post; Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC Contributor and Washington Post Blog Writer; and Michelle Kwan, Olympic Figure Skater. The Ball’s audience also included a dynamic group of young professionals, as well as cross-sector attendees from across the U.S. and around the world.

Generously sponsored by Presenting Sponsor General Dynamics and supported by Lead Sponsors FedEx Express and Turkish Airlines, as well as Benefactors Chevron and Gallup, the 2012 Ball also set a new fund-raising record by raising $1 million to support Meridian’s mission of promoting public diplomacy and global leadership through the exchange of ideas, people, and culture. As stated by Ambassador Stuart W. Holliday, President & CEO of Meridian – “Meridian is a place where information and ideas are exchanged, perspectives are expanded, and relationships are built, so better solutions to global challenges can emerge.”

The 44th Annual Meridian Ball was presided over by Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama; Congressional Co-Chairs Irene Hirano Inouye and Kristi Rogers; Honorary Sponsor Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States; Ball Co-Chairs Jay L. Johnson, Chairman & CEO of General Dynamics Corporation, and Sydney McNiff Johnson; White-Meyer Co-Chairs Loran and Robert Aiken and Ashley and Matt Bronczek; and Young Professional Chairs Erica Gutierrez, Amanda Pope, and Reem Sadik.

Held at Meridian House, an architectural treasure listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Meridian Ball was preceded by intimate dinners hosted by Ambassadors at their residences and embassies around Washington, as well as dinner at Meridian’s White Meyer House.