Washington, DC – IRI will honor former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger with its 2009 Freedom Award for his contribution to the security and progress of the United States. IRI Chairman Senator John McCain will present the award to Secretary Kissinger on October 8 at an event in Washington, DC. This year’s event will also mark IRI’s 25th anniversary.
The event will feature a conversation with Secretary Kissinger moderated by Niall Ferguson, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, who is working on a biography of Secretary Kissinger.
“For 40 years Henry Kissinger has served his country. As Secretary of State and National Security Advisor during the height of the Cold War, he helped end the war in Vietnam and establish relations between China and the United States. His achievements in the arena of foreign policy are remarkable,” said IRI Chairman Senator John McCain. “I am honored to be able to present the IRI Freedom Award to Secretary Kissinger for his service to America.”
Fleeing Nazi persecution, Secretary Kissinger’s family immigrated to the United States in 1938. He became a naturalized citizen in 1943. During the war he served in the United States Army in the 84th Infantry Division in France and Germany. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1950 and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1952 and 1954. From 1954 until 1969, he was a member of the faculty of Harvard University, in both the Department of Government and the Center for International Affairs. He was Director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1952 to 1969.
Secretary Kissinger was sworn in on September 22, 1973, as the 56th Secretary of State, a position he held until January 20, 1977. He also served as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from January 20, 1969, until November 3, 1975, the only person to concurrently hold both the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor positions. During Secretary Kissinger’s tenure, the Vietnam War ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize; tensions with the Soviet Union were relaxed under the policy of détente; and the United States established ties to China. In 1977, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his service to the country. In 1986, he was one of 10 naturalized citizens awarded the Medal of Liberty by President Ronald Reagan.
After leaving government, Secretary Kissinger continued to serve his country. In 1983, President Reagan appointed him to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America. From 1984 to 1990, he served as a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. From 1985 to 1989, he served on the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy. From 1986 to 1988, he was a member of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy of the National Security Council and Defense Department. He is currently a member of the Defense Policy Board.
At present, Secretary Kissinger is Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm. He is also a member of the International Council of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; Chairman of the International Advisory Board of American International Group, Inc.; a Counselor to and Trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; an Honorary Governor of the Foreign Policy Association; and an Honor Member of the International Olympic Committee. Among his other activities, Secretary Kissinger is a member of the Board of Directors of ContiGroup Companies, Inc. and an Advisor to the Board of Directors of American Express Company. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Forstmann Little and Co.; a Trustee Emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a Director Emeritus of Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.; and a Director of the International Rescue Committee.
Secretary Kissinger is the author of numerous books and has published numerous articles on United States foreign policy, international affairs and diplomatic history.