On Friday, October 16, 2015, more than 800 top world leaders gathered at the 47th Annual Meridian Ball in support of the organization’s ongoing efforts to prepare private and public sector leaders around the world for a complex future. The Ball enjoyed record-breaking attendance and proved, once again, to be one of Washington’s most celebrated events. The 47th Annual Meridian Ball, chaired by Ambassador Beatrice Welters and Mr. Anthony Welters, was made possible through the generous support of Corporate Chair The Coca-Cola Company; Ambassador’s Circle Sponsors Chevron and Gallup; Diplomat’s Circle Sponsors BARD, DLA Piper, HESS, and The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates; and numerous other corporate sponsors and individual contributors.
The Ball was the culmination of a day of Global Leadership which began with the Meridian Global Leadership Summit in the morning of October 16th, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. With 250 leaders from the private and public sectors in attendance, Meridian explored the impact of foreign policy on national security, economic stability, business growth, and other key issues which directly impact the quality of life of people around the world. Key highlights of the Summit included remarks by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a Conversation with President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company James Quincey.
Following the Summit, in the evening, top leaders from the diplomatic, public, corporate, and social sectors continued their networking, relationship-building, and cultural exchange at the Meridian Ball. This year, pre-Ball Dinners were hosted at Meridian’s White-Meyer House, as well as 24 Embassies including the Embassies of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Panama, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia and Turkey.
This year’s Ball held true to its reputation as gathering place for several of the world’s powerful decision-makers. VIPs and celebrities in attendance included:
Presiding over this year’s Ball was Honorary Chair Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States; Honorary Sponsor Ambassador Peter A. Selfridge, Chief of Protocol of the United States; Congressional Co-Chairs Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Mrs. Pat Engel and Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Mrs. Sandy Buchanan; Ball Chairs Ambassador Beatrice Welters and Mr. Anthony Welters; White-Meyer Chairs Mr. Eric Larsen and Mrs. Susanne Larsen; and Young Professional Chairs Mr. Josh Rogin and Ms. Ali Weinberg.