Past Event

Announcing our 70th Anniversary Event

The Vandenberg Prize Luncheon with


Ambassador (ret.) Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. 

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and China



Tuesday, January 14,  2020

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Ambassador Ballroom


12:00 PM - 1:45 PM Luncheon and Program

This event has concluded. If you missed the luncheon, you may watch a recording of the program here.

Ambassador Huntsman will be the first recipient of  an annual Vandenberg Prize, honoring a national figure whose efforts to develop global understanding and collaboration has been influential on the world stage.


In addition, Ms. Birgit Klohs, of  The Right Place, Inc., will be the first recipient of an annual Hilman-Orr Award. The Right Place, Inc., is the regional economic development organization for Greater Grand Rapids, which has from its beginnings featured a global reach and international mindset.

The Vandenberg Prize is named after Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg (1881-1951), the inspiration for founding the Council in 1949 by Grand Rapids attorney (and later Federal Judge) Douglas Hillman and businessman Edgar Orr.

The inaugural recipient of the Vandenberg Prize is Ambassador (ret.) Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. He is the former Ambassador of the United States to Russia (2017-19) at the appointment of President Trump, to China (2009-11) at the appointment of President Obama, and to Singapore (1992-93) at the appointment of President George H.W. Bush.


Ambassador Huntsman was also the 16th Governor of Utah (2005-09) and a 2012 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. 


Birgit Klohs has been President & CEO of The Right Place, Inc. since 1987.  She is a  native of Germany, and a leading authority in international business and economic development.

Link to Birgit Klohs’ bio

With gracious support from 

To change the world,

first know the world.

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The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan empowers the people and organizations of West Michigan to engage thoughtfully with the world.

"To change the world, first know the world."

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Grand Rapids, MI 49506

(616) 776-1721

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