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Events 2013

The Washburne Award for Innovation in Diversity

Elihu Benjamin Washburne

Elihu Benjamin Washburne

A longtime friend and supporter of Presidents Lincoln and Grant, Elihu Benjamin Washburne was a leading 19th century proponent of racial equality in the U.S.  As a Congressman, he served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which drafted the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment,  guaranteeing voting rights, due process and equal protection under the law to U.S. citizens.  He later served as U.S. Secretary of State and, from 1869-1877, U.S. Minister to France. As a diplomatic envoy, Washburne played a courageous role during the Franco-German War, the siege of Paris and the Commune. 

Purpose of the Award

  • To advance shared Franco-American goals that promote diversity and that reflect our longstanding commitment to developing economic opportunity for all citizens;
  • To honor French and American companies which develop innovative programs that promote diversity in the workplace by publicly recognizing private sector organizations that excel in the recruitment, training, and mentoring of employees from diverse backgrounds.  This includes programs that prepare/empower individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the mainstream economy;
  • To promote employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth in France by encouraging companies to identify and develop young talent from diverse backgrounds;
  • To encourage entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas by expanding the capacity of French and American companies to recruit talented individuals;
  • To increase Franco-American exchanges of information and ideas regarding diversity, training, and recruitment of disadvantaged youth, as well as job creation.

Two awards will be granted for this program, the first for an American firm operating in France and the second for a French firm, for their exceptional contributions in this field.