“This award recognizes individuals who embody the citizen diplomacy movement,” said Patrick Madden, president and CEO of Sister Cities International. “Governor Richardson uses his public platform as a tool to create awareness and mobilize others to think beyond our borders to shape a better world.”
Two-term governor Bill Richardson strives to advance the economic and educational standard of living for those in New Mexico and around the world.
In 2001, Richardson assumed the chairmanship of Freedom House, a private, non-partisan organization that promotes democracy worldwide.
Prior to being elected governor, Richardson held multiple diplomatic positions dealing with difficult international issues and because of his long-standing concern for human rights abuses and his diplomatic work throughout the world, Richardson was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Richardson addressed many difficult international negotiating challenges and crises all over the world. He served as an advocate for the realization of universal human rights and fair and democratic governance worldwide.
During his 15 years as a congressman for New Mexico, Richardson served as a special envoy on several sensitive international missions. He successfully won the release of hostages, American servicemen, and prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, and Cuba.
The Sister Cities International Annual Awards Program was established in 1962 to recognize outstanding communities and individuals. The Michael A. Guido Award for Distinguished Leadership was established in 2006. Previous winners include Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ), former UN Ambassador Andrew Young and performer/philanthropist Bono.
The Sister Cities International 2010 Annual Conference is made possible through the support of the Department of State, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Department of Energy, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Carvey Family, and Americans for the Arts.
Sister Cities International facilitates nearly 2,000 partnerships in 136 counties on six continents between 600 communities in the Unites States with similar municipalities abroad. Sister Cities International represent citizen diplomats who work tirelessly to promote the organizations' mission of creating world peace and cultural understanding through economic and sustainable development programs, youth and education projects, arts and culture, as well as humanitarian assistance. More information about Sister Cities International can be found at www.sister-cities.org. Facebook: Sister Cities International; Twitter: @SisterCityIntl.