Impact Through

Global Partnerships

Leadership Message

Increased polarization, protectionism and a questioning of identity among many of the world’s most powerful countries have challenged the strength of the invaluable relationships across sectors and borders that are necessary for global security and prosperity. Where political conflicts and economic disputes have weakened these relationships, Meridian aims to provide a space where international cooperation can thrive.

After nearly 60 years, Meridian lives at the nexus of global partnerships between the public and private sector, the diplomatic community and leaders in media, education and advocacy from around the world. These connections form the foundation necessary for accelerated collaboration and consensus building among all stakeholders as we tackle today’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.

Meridian’s 2018 programming spotlighted these partnerships at a new level. We engaged more than 7,400 emerging and established leaders in government, business, diplomacy and civil society, through capacity-building programs on our campus in Washington, D.C., and in cities across the U.S. Through our leadership development and diplomacy programs, we strengthen U.S. engagement with the world and build global leaders by connecting them with the people and ideas they need to grow their impact in their communities and countries.

The power of our partnerships was bolstered in 2018 with the launch of the Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement, which provides a neutral, nonpartisan platform for Washington’s diplomatic community to collaborate on key global issues with U.S. government officials, corporate leaders and nongovernmental organizations. Fittingly, the Center officially launched at the 7th Annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit, which brought together ambassadors, members of Congress and CEOs to discuss how to prepare for a digitally driven future across sectors and borders.

Meridian’s partnership with the U.S. government remains principal with the continued work on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which brought 1,636 international visitors on 188 professional exchange programs to 316 U.S. cities last year. Participants learned from and built lasting relationships with dozens of local government members, small businesses, and NGOs working on issues ranging from governance and education to women’s rights and environmental sustainability.

Meridian also partnered with the State Department for the third consecutive year on the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), which brought 250 promising entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to the U.S. for an exchange to equip them with knowledge, resources and networks to succeed in the digital commerce era. In addition to entrepreneurs, Meridian worked with the executive government and U.S. embassies abroad to train hundreds of international journalists, educators, health professionals and other emerging leaders and help them build meaningful partnerships here in the U.S.

While Meridian’s work spans continents and international alliances, Asia was a region of focus in 2018. The Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy organized one of its biggest exhibits yet to commemorate 200 years of U.S.−Thai relations. Our annual Diplomacy Forum convened government, corporate, diplomatic and civil society leaders to celebrate the cultural influence of Japan, and Meridian organized its first Nowruz spring festival in partnership with the Central Asian embassies in DC. Beyond this focus on Asia, Meridian explored new avenues of cultural diplomacy with a variety of diplomatic and civil society partners who facilitated discussions on how fashion, sports and food can bridge divides across borders and cultures.

Whether it’s exchange and training programs, discussions on global issues or cultural diplomacy initiatives, none of Meridian’s work would be possible without the enduring partnerships that give the center a global impact. We were honored to have so many of our key partners with us to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Meridian Ball, a milestone event that showcased the breadth and familiarity of our international and cross-sector relationships. We are thankful to all our supporters who share our belief that U.S. engagement with the world is vital for our collective security and prosperity. As we continue to navigate the complex international challenges of our time, we look forward to further strengthening and growing these partnerships in the coming year.



By the Numbers


people worldwide impacted by Meridian Projects in 2018


Celebrating Our Partnerships

Meridian’s work to prepare and connect global leaders from around the world would not be possible without the cross-section of partners in government, diplomacy, business and civil society that support and engage with Meridian programs. In 2018, Meridian saw these partnerships strengthened through the launch of the Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement, creation of a corporate diplomacy training program, and the 50th Anniversary Meridian Ball, which brought more than 800 of our government, business, and diplomatic partners together.

This year, Meridian continued to be the U.S. State Department’s largest partner on the International Visitor Leadership Program. We also teamed up with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and U.S. Embassies for a number training programs both in the U.S. and overseas. Through the Meridian Global Leadership Council, Meridian Corporate Council, and Rising Leaders Council, Meridian developed and maintained close relationships with leaders here in Washington who represent different industries, political affiliations and nationalities.

50th Meridian Ball

Ballgowns, tuxedos, champagne: The last real ball in Washington

"Meridian is the last ball of its kind. It is a survivor of a bygone era, a vision of Washington less as it is today and more as it would like to imagine itself: elegant, serious, sophisticated and united for important issues and causes.”

-- Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post

The Meridian Ball's Golden Anniversary

While Washington has evolved, Meridian Ball traditions - from all former First Ladies serving as Honorary Chairs since Mrs. Patricia Nixon, to pre-Ball dinners hosted by Ambassadors and a lively dance reception at Meridian House - have endured since its inception in 1969. The 50th Annual Meridian Ball convened over 800 diplomats, industry leaders, and government officials on October 12, 2018. This year, we were delighted to have over 25 former Ball Chairs serving on the host committee. Spanning decades, generations and backgrounds, each Chair has left a unique imprint on the Ball, shaping it into what it has become today.

The evening began with dinners hosted by 35 embassies across Washington for over 500 people. At the same time, over 300 guests joined the White-Meyer Dinner and enjoyed their meal in our first ever Dinner Pavilion with American Pops Orchestra playing in the background. After the dinners, guests spread between Meridian’s two historic homes, the White-Meyer House and Meridian House, to enjoy dancing, dessert and drinks as they mingled with other leaders across sectors and from around the world.

"This is the place where they cross aisles, cultural boundaries, and time zones to create mutual understanding between cultures.”

-- Megan Beyer, Meridian Trustee and member of the 50th Meridian Ball Leadership Committee

Accelerating Collaboration on Global Issues

By way of our more than 500 projects each year, Meridian brings together a cross-section of established and emerging leaders, provides them with resources and insight on some of the most pressing international issues of our time, and prepares them to effectively meet the challenges of a complex global future.

Building Global Entrepreneurs

Through tailored training programs offered by our Global Leadership Institute and custom exchanges for public and private sector leaders, as well as events that convene leaders in business, government, diplomacy and civil society, we provide individuals with the know-how, resources, and valuable public and private sector networks to become successful entrepreneurs.

Advancing Trade Discussions

Through a Corporate Council comprised of more than 35 top multinational corporations, numerous economics-focused exchange programs and reverse trade missions, as well as signature programs such as Global Business@Meridian Downtown, we provide leaders with the opportunity to engage on trade policy, entrepreneurship, consumer protection issues, global business trends, and other key topics.

Preparing for a Digital Future

Through our programs in cyber-security, internet freedom, mobile communications, telecommunications and broadband innovation, we provide leaders with the information, skills, and networks to face the contemporary challenges of operating in a borderless world, where technology is constantly evolving.

Empowering Women and Girls

Meridian partners with governments, civil society organizations, and NGOs worldwide to champion the empowerment of women and girls. Through our programs, women and girls enjoy increased access to world-class education, greater opportunities for entrepreneurship, and networks that support the fulfillment of their highest potential.

Navigating U.S. Media and Politics

As a global leadership organization committed to transparency, open dialogue, and neutral forums for collaboration, Meridian highlights the work of leaders in the field of media and journalism. We regularly develop dynamic programs each year that explore contemporary issues that directly impact members of the media around the world.

Strengthening Global Security

Together with partners from the government, civil society, education, health, transportation, trade, economic development, media, human rights, and security sectors, we develop programming that explores all of the factors which impact the safety, stability, and well-being of citizens around the world. In many of our exchange programs, we also provide neutral forums in which security stakeholders openly discuss solutions to the security challenges, which many communities and countries face.

Educating Emerging Leaders

Building on nearly 60 years of experience in preparing effective global leaders, Meridian offers a unique approach to education. Our custom training programs combine practical tools with expertise from our high-level network, ensuring private and public sector partners are well-equipped to navigate global challenges and opportunities.

Bridging Divides through Arts and Culture

Meridian believes that leaders who have a global view, cultural awareness, peer networks, and the ability to collaborate produce stronger outcomes. Through our Center for Cultural Diplomacy, we develop unique programs that increase cross-cultural understanding and strengthen relationships between the U.S. and countries around the world. These programs include exhibitions, trainings, and conferences, as well as cultural intelligence sessions, artist exchanges, and educational programming that provide emerging and established leaders with a forum for learning and engaging across borders. By understanding the impact of cultural diplomacy, private and public sector leaders are better positioned to form relationships that set the foundation for increased business opportunities, long-lasting partnerships, and innovation through collaboration.

Meridian on the Road

In addition to welcoming thousands of international visitors to Washington each year, Meridian sends delegations overseas and to other regions of the U.S. as part of cultural initiatives, professional exchanges and educational training programs.

About Meridian

Meridian is a global leadership and diplomatic center that strengthens U.S. engagement with the world and accelerates collaboration through the exchange of leaders, ideas and culture.

We believe that the United States is stronger when globally engaged, working with other nations to create a more secure and prosperous world. Founded nearly 60 years ago as a non-partisan, non-profit organization, Meridian works with governments, the private sector and the diplomatic community to develop exchange, training, culture and convening programs to help leaders better address global challenges and opportunities.


Meridian strengthens global relationships through the exchange of leaders, ideas and culture.


Peer networks and immersive exchange programs build the next generation of global leaders. Our programs provide leaders from the U.S. and around the world with the insight, capacity, networks, and cultural context needed to navigate a rapidly evolving globalized society.


More perspectives lead to better policies. Meridian serves as a powerful platform to connect the diplomatic community in Washington with government and business leaders to exchange perspectives and accelerate collaboration on global economic and national security issues, while closing the gaps among these sectors.


The arts and culture are powerful tools of diplomacy to bridge cultural divides. From vibrant visual art displays to film screenings, exchanges and concerts, Meridian’s cultural programs advance diplomacy goals by providing a common language that breaks down barriers and brings together the public through shared interests and values.


Meridian partners with the public, private and diplomatic sectors to develop exchange, training, culture and convening programs that help leaders address global challenges and opportunities.

United States Government

We are a principle partner of the U.S. Department of State, other government agencies and Congress. We implement the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which promotes mutual understanding between leaders in countries around the world and the U.S.

Diplomatic Community

We work closely with the diplomatic corps in Washington, DC, to foster greater understanding of their cultures, create networks with U.S. private and public sector organizations, and provide opportunities for advancing business and trade relations.

Multinational Corporations

The world's leading multinational corporations count on us to design programs that address critical business challenges and opportunities, elevate their CSR initiatives, and accelerate development of their leaders.

NGOs, Media and Educational Institutions

We partner with NGOs, schools and media outlets around the world to convene programs on topical international issues, including: human trafficking, women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship, trade, cultural diplomacy, security, environmental sustainability, and global health.


Meridian’s integrated programming approach provides leaders with a variety of platforms in neutral environments to develop an informed global view, cultural awareness and collaborative peer networks to produce better outcomes. When leaders return home and implement change, the impact of Meridian’s programs is amplified across numerous arenas, including women and girls’ empowerment, business and trade, human and civil rights, and energy and the environment. Directly impacting the quality of life for people around the globe, these issue areas are pivotal to Meridian’s vision of a more secure and prosperous world today and for generations to come.


Meridian’s campus features two historic buildings, Meridian House and White-Meyer House. Surrounded by gardens, it forms a city block of historic and architectural interest. The campus is the residential jewel of John Russell Pope, architect of the Jefferson Memorial, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Archives. Both houses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Meridian HouseMeridian House, at 1630 Crescent Place NW, was built by Ambassador Irwin Boyle Laughlin. He purchased the land in 1912, two years after his friend Ambassador Henry White bought the adjacent site. After a long and distinguished career with the U.S. Foreign Service, Mr. Laughlin retired in 1919 and built Meridian House, filling it with his collection of 18th century French drawings and Oriental porcelains and screens. Although he later returned to the diplomatic corps, serving as Ambassador to Greece and Spain in the 1920s and 30s, Mr. Laughlin also played an active role in Washington’s artistic and historical communities.

The house was described by Architectural Forum in 1929 as: “Perhaps as fine a piece of work of its kind as this country can show... Certainly the manner of this house has not in this country been better done, not only in terms of stylistic authenticity, but in terms of pure architecture, meaning good taste in selectivity, in elimination, in execution. It cannot from its nature do otherwise than set a standard which should endure permanently.” After undergoing a major renovation in 1994, Meridian House’s principal rooms retain their architectural detail as well as some of the original decorative features, such as the 18th century European overdoor paintings and antique brass hardware and lighting fixtures. The classical symmetry of the Louis XVI style is reflected throughout the house.

The Latin inscription “Quo habitat felicitas nil intret mali” appears over the front door and translates “Where happiness dwells, evil will not enter.” The inscription over the rear courtyard doors reads: “Purior hicaer: late hinc conspectus in urbem, ”meaning “Purer here the air whence we overlook the city,” a quotation also inscribed on a house at the top of Rome’s Spanish Steps. The rear and side gardens largely retain their original design. The pebbled courtyard has 40 linden trees, imported from Europe when the house was built. The statues throughout the garden are original to the house.

The White-Meyer House White-Meyer House, at 1624 Crescent Place NW, has been home to two prestigious Washington families. The property was purchased in 1910 by distinguished American diplomat Henry White, who had been Ambassador to Italy and France. The red brick Georgian home was completed in 1912 at a total cost of $155,497.

During the Whites’ tenure, the house was the scene of many significant social and historical events. Notable guests included Georges Clemenceau, Robert Cecil, Henry Cabot Lodge and President Warren Harding. In 1917, at the request of the Department of State, Ambassador White lent the house to the French mission of Marshal Joseph Joffre for its headquarters, and the French flag flew from the residence while high-level strategic meetings took place inside. Marshal Joffre later wrote that in this house “were sown the seeds of military and naval cooperation which bore fruit several months later on the battlefront.”

When Henry White died in 1927, the property passed to his son, John Campbell White. Eugene Meyer, who subsequently became owner of The Washington Post, rented the house for several years before purchasing it in 1934. The Meyers, including Katharine Graham, spent many years in the house. Prominent guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Thomas Mann, Earl Warren, and John and Robert Kennedy.

After the Meyers’ deaths, the house became the property of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation and was leased for use by the Antioch Law School Library. In 1987, it was purchased by Meridian International Center. An extensive renovation of White-Meyer House, which was completed in 1988, won an American Institute of Architects award for excellence. Great care was taken to retain the house’s architectural integrity and preserve as much of the original garden as possible. Throughout the house, ceilings and walls have been refinished and architectural details and period hardware restored or recreated.


Meridian’s digital engagement advances the global reach of our work by leveraging custom content that positions us as thought leaders on international exchange and public diplomacy. Through the power of visual and social media, we showcase the national impact of our international engagement through numerous platforms and apps. Connecting with the world beyond our Washington, DC campus also keeps our alumni networks actively engaged and our global influencer network excited to convert individuals around the world into champions of Meridian. This increased visibility of our programs that foster the exchange of people, culture and ideas helps make Meridian a more recognizable and trusted voice for global leadership.

Financial Report

Consolidated Statement of Financial Position

September 30, 2018


Cash and cash equivalents $ 1,905,719
Receivables, net 3,341,077
Prepaid expenses 837,317
Investments 7,436,217
Property held for sale 1,055,937
Property and equipment, net 4,625,469
Total Assets $ 19,201,736

Liabilities and Net Assets

Line of credit $ 650,000
Accounts payable 1,691,969
Accrued expenses 2,092,888
Capital leases 15,222
Deferred revenue – General 1,648,134
Deferred revenue – Property held for sale 2,500,000
Term loan 2,779,621
Total Liabilities $ 11,377,834

Net assets

Unrestricted $ 7,032,151
Tim and Purpose Restrictions 108,144
Perpetual Restrictions 683,607
Total Net Assets 7,823,902
Total Liabilities and Net Assets $ 19,201,736

Consolidated Statement of Activities and Change in Net Assets

Year ended September 30, 2018


Grants and contracts $ 33,258,664
Contributions 2,579,962
Events and special activities 581,000
Investment income 781,861
Total revenues $ 37,201,487


International visitor leadership program $ 17,646,256
Other exchange programs 11,474,877
Cultural programs 2,148,255
Convenings 321,192
Development 1,334,824
Support Services:
General and administrative 3,485,069
Maintenance and operations 307,122
Total Expenses $ 36,717,595
Change in Net Assets $ 483,892
Net Assets, beginning of year $ 7,340,010
Net Assets, end of year $ 7,823,902

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Aflac, Inc.
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Hess Corporation
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Abbott Laboratories
His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba and Mrs. Abeer Al Otaiba
Beacon Global Strategies
Booz Allen Hamilton
BP America Inc.
Brown-Forman Corporation
Citigroup Inc.
Cogent Strategies
Delta Air Lines
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Mr. and Mrs. A. Huda Farouki
Fluor Corporation
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Gilead Sciences
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Bernstein Family Foundation
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Boston Scientific
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The Honorable Laurie Fulton
Harman International Industries, Inc.
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Lockheed Martin
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