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39th Annual Awards Dinner

The Aspen Institute is delighted to welcome back friends and supporters to the 39th Annual Awards Dinner on Thursday, November 2 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. It is a privilege to come together and applaud the significant work of the Aspen Institute and celebrate this year’s extraordinary honorees: Henry Crown Leadership Award recipient Li Lu and the Public Service Award recipients Jeh Johnson and J. Michael LuttigThe evening will also feature a conversation with our Public Service honorees moderated by co-anchor of PBS NewsHour Amna Nawaz.

Our honorees have demonstrated values-based leadership through their remarkable achievements and contributions to society, and we look forward to honoring them on our stage.

The Annual Awards Dinner is the Aspen Institute’s flagship fundraiser and largest generator of unrestricted funding for the Institute. Through the support of our committed friends and champions, the funds raised from this event ensure that the Aspen Institute can continue to drive actionable change towards a more free, just and equitable society.

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If you are unable to join us, please consider making a donation to support the Annual Awards Dinner by clicking the link here.



Learn more about this year’s inspiring award recipients.

The Henry Crown Leadership Award

Li Lu

Li Lu is the Founder and Chairman of Himalaya Capital, a value investing firm where he has been managing its principal fund since 1997.

Born in China, Li Lu attended Columbia University where he received his BA, JD, and MBA simultaneously. He is a trustee of Columbia University and the California Institute of Technology.

Among his various philanthropic pursuits, Li Lu co-founded and is Board Chair of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), serving the 23 million Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity, free from discrimination, slander and violence.  He also co-founded the Guardians of the Angeles Charitable Foundation (GoA) to combat the global COVID-19 crisis and now serves as the Foundation’s Board Chair.

Li Lu is the author of Civilization, Modernization, Value Investing and China and Moving the Mountain: My Life in China. Li Lu is a Henry Crown Fellow (1998) and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020.

The Public Service Award

Jeh Johnson

Jeh Johnson is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, who in public life was Secretary of Homeland Security (2013-2017), General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009-2012), General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force (1998-2001), and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York (1989-1991).

As Secretary of Homeland Security, Johnson was the head of the third largest cabinet department of the U.S. government, consisting of 230,000 personnel and 22 components.

As General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Johnson is credited with being the legal architect for the U.S. military’s counterterrorism efforts in the Obama Administration.  In 2010, Johnson co-authored the report that paved the way for the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by Congress later that year.

In private life, in addition to practicing law, Johnson is on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin, U.S. Steel, MetLife, the Council on Foreign Relations, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, and is a trustee of Columbia University. Johnson is a regular commentator on NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, FOX, Bloomberg TV and other news networks, and hosts a show on public radio station WBGO based in Newark, New Jersey.

Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia Law School and the recipient of 13 honorary degrees.

J. Michael Luttig

J. Michael Luttig served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for 15 years, from 1991 to 2006. He is currently counselor and special advisor to the Coca-Cola Company and its board of directors. Prior to joining the Coca-Cola Company, Judge Luttig was counselor and senior advisor to the Boeing Company CEO and board of directors. He was executive vice president and general counsel of Boeing from 2006 to 2020.

Before he was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush, he served as assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice and counselor to the attorney general of the United States. He was assistant counsel to the president at the White House from 1981 to 1982 under President Ronald Reagan. From 1982 to 1983, he was a law clerk to then-Judge Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. From 1983 to 1985, he served as a law clerk and then special assistant to the chief justice of the United States.

Judge Luttig earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington and Lee University and his law degree from the University of Virginia.

In August 2023, the President of the ABA  appointed Jeh Johnson and J. Michael Luttig to co-chair a task force to study ways to restore public confidence in the American democracy.

Program Moderator

Amna Nawaz

Amna Nawaz serves as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour. Prior to joining PBS NewsHour in April 2018, Nawaz was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, built in 2014, to elevate stories from America’s fastest-growing and most diverse population.

At the NewsHour, Nawaz has reported from the White House, across the country, and around the world on a range of topics including politics, immigration, foreign affairs, education, gun violence, criminal justice reform, the climate, culture, and sports. She also serves as an NBC News and MSNBC contributor.

Throughout her career, she has covered major events such as the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol; the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; the elections and inaugurations of President Joe Biden, President Donald J. Trump, and President Barack Obama; Hurricane Katrina; the 2010 Haiti earthquake; the U.S. war in Afghanistan; and the September 11th attacks.

She is the first-generation American daughter of Pakistani parents, born and raised in Virginia. Nawaz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she captained the varsity field hockey team and studied abroad at the University of Zimbabwe. She later earned her master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

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Event information
Thu Nov 2, 2023
7:00pm - 9:30pm EDT
The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel
New York, NY