PRESS RELEASE: Announcing the Meridian Center for Global Leadership


Washington, D.C. –  Meridian International Center is strengthening its commitment to developing the next generation of global leaders by launching the Meridian Center for Global Leadership in January 2021. This announcement took place at the 9th Annual Meridian Summit on The Rise of Global Health Diplomacy on October 23, 2020.

Announced by Meridian President and CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday at the Summit, “In a world that is becoming more and more polarized, it takes partnership, trust and leaders working together to find solutions to the global pandemic and other crises we face today. Meridian has been preparing the next generation of global leaders to collaborate on solutions to shared challenges, and I'm pleased to announce the development of the forthcoming Meridian Center for Global Leadership, which will expand our reach in this space and harness our expertise in developing innovative leadership programs adapted for the new virtual world.”

For the last 60 years, Meridian has empowered global leaders to catalyze change through international exchange and training programs. The onset of the COVID pandemic has accelerated the need for leaders to have global insight, cultural context and networks to collaborate on today’s most critical issues. The new Center for Global Leadership provides a platform for global leadership networks to exchange knowledge, insights and best practices, strengthening Meridian’s deliberate approach in tackling some of the greatest obstacles facing our country and the world.

As part of the announcement, Meridian presented the Meridian Global Leadership Awards to two individuals for their leadership and achievements in public health amid the pandemic, and who share Meridian’s commitment to international collaboration, dialogue and diplomacy:

  • Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer. Recipient of the Meridian Corporate Leader Award, which recognizes exceptional business leaders whose vision and management abilities have helped their companies succeed in a global marketplace, increased international collaboration, and made societal impact a corporate priority.
“Science will win this battle against Covid-19, just as it has won so many battles against disease in the past. When it does, we need to commit to continuing the spirit of partnership and diplomacy that Meridian so strongly exemplifies and is enabling us to advance breakthrough science at an unprecedented pace.”
  • Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Malcolm Gillis University Professor at Rice University, and 2018 alumna of the U.S. Science Envoys Program, implemented by Meridian. Recipient of the Global Citizen Award, which recognizes distinguished leaders whose outstanding contributions and commitment to society have resulted in stronger international partnerships, greater understanding between nations, and a healthier, more secure and prosperous world.
"There's a natural collaboration between the worlds of science and engineers, because engineers believe in using science to address the needs of society. Failure is also an essential part of engineering, we fail every day. It’s only by failing and learning from failure can you achieve the solution you’re trying to design. That comfort with failure and learning from failure is something we engineers can bring to the global health area."

Through the development of the new Center for Global Leadership, Meridian will strengthen its overall programming to empower future leaders and changemakers. Meridian’s new Center for Global Leadership will optimize its impact through a multidimensional approach that will:

  • Harness and centralize the expertise, talent and best practices across the organization to provide increased capacity, support and impact to our government and private sector partners.
  • Accelerate collaboration in developing innovate global leadership programs adapted for the new virtual world, implementing lessons learned and sharing best practices to strengthen current exchanges and support development of future exchange programs, while also creating an environment where in-person exchanges can flourish once we can gather again responsibly.
  • Expand our reach through virtual tools that sustain alumni engagement and strengthen connections among our leadership networks around the world.

The future of diplomacy is evolving and it is more important than ever for Meridian to lean into and lead in this new era. Learn more about Meridian’s Global Leadership work here. For questions about the forthcoming Meridian Center for Global Leadership, please contact Megan Devlin, Director of Communications.

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Meridian International Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit diplomacy center that connects leaders through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for global challenges. Founded 60 years ago, Meridian has equipped thousands of leaders with the networks, insights and cultural context essential for non-partisan work on shared issues. Meridian strengthens engagement between the United States and the world through diplomacy, global leadership and culture, because we believe we are stronger together when globally engaged.

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