World Citizen Award

Since 1988, the World Affairs Council has annually recognized an outstanding leader from the State of Washington who has contributed significantly to public understanding of international relations and has promoted community involvement in world affairs.  Recipients have been celebrated, along with the World Educator, at large community events designed to inspire others toward becoming a World Citizen.


The World Affairs Council welcomes community participation in the nomination process for the 2016 World Citizen Award. To nominate an outstanding candidate (individual or organization), please send a letter of recommendation, addressed to the World Affairs Council Board of Trustees, to Nomination letters should be limited to one written page and should explain how the nominee meets the criteria below. Acceptable formats include Word and PDF documents. Nominations are due by July 31, and the 2016 World Citizen will be announced in the fall.

Click here to submit a letter of recommendation!


The recipient must have been a resident of Washington State for the duration of the past year or, for an organization, must be located in Washington State. Nominees must fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  • Their work has contributed to solving a global problem, and has had a significant impact;
  • They have shown leadership in promoting international understanding in our community;
  • They have provided inspirational international service through extended contributions on a volunteer basis.


Past World Citizen Award winners:

  • Marla Smith-Nilson, Founder, Water1st, 2015
  • Dan O’Neill, Founder, Mercy Corp, 2014
  • Christine Gregoire, 22nd Governor of the State of Washington, 2012
  • Julia Bolz, RESULTS, Ayni Education International, 2011
  • Ezra Teshome, University District Rotary, 2010
  • Bill Stafford, President, Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, 2009
  • Karen Kodama, International Schools Administrator, Seattle Public School District, 2008
  • Roy Prosterman, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Rural Development Institute, 2007
  • Bill Clapp, Co-Founder, Global Partnerships and the Initiative for Global Development, 2006
  • Bill Foege, Senior Fellow, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2005
  • Gary Locke, Governor, State of Washington, 2004
  • Paul Isaki, Washington State Governor’s Special Assistant for Business, 2003
  • The University of Washington, 2002
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2000
  • Patricia Davis, President of the Washington Council on International Trade, Commissioner of the Port of Seattle, 1999
  • Ralph Munro, Secretary of State, State of Washington, 1998
  • Booth Gardner, Former Governor, State of Washington, 1997
  • Herb Ellison, Professor of Russian Studies, Henry M. Jackson School of International Affairs, University of Washington, 1996
  • George Russell, Chairman, Frank Russell Company, 1996
  • Frank Shrontz, Former President and CEO, The Boeing Company, 1995
  • Robert Kapp, Former President, Washington Council on International Trade, 1994
  • George Duff, Former President, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 1993
  • Virgil Fassio, Former Publisher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1992
  • Dr. George E. Taylor, Founder, World Affairs Council, Washington Council on International Trade, and Far Eastern Institute at the University of Washington, 1991
  • Robert M. Walsh, Former President, Seattle Goodwill Games, Organizing Committee, 1990
  • Helen Hardin Jackson, Chair, Henry M. Jackson Foundation, 1989
  • Ploughshares, Seattle, Washington, 1988