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The Robert D. Kleist International Citizen Award Dinner was hosted by IVCLA from 1996-2006 to celebrate the vital importance of citizen diplomacy. Each year, IVCLA honored an International Citizen in recognition of their dedication to building understanding and cooperation in the Los Angeles community and throughout the world.

Buzz Aldrin, Ken Kragen, Mistress of Ceremonies Suzanne Whang, Shari Belafonte, Ronn Lucas, Michelle Lee and Harry Belafonte       City of L.A. Chief of Protocol Elga Sharpe, IVCLA Board President Wafa Hoballah, former honoree Dr. H. John Shammas and Dr. Najwa Shammas

Above Left: Buzz Aldrin, Ken Kragen, Mistress of Ceremonies Suzanne Whang, Shari Belafonte, Ronn Lucas, Michelle Lee and Harry Belafonte. Above Right: City of L.A. Chief of Protocol Elga Sharpe, IVCLA Board President Wafa Hoballah, former honoree Dr. H. John Shammas and Dr. Najwa Shammas. Below Left: Harry Belafonte presents the award to Ken Kragen. Below Right: Ken Kragen, County of L.A. Deputy Chief of Protocol Lourdes Saab, IVCLA Dinner Chair Cecile Munoz.

Harry Belafonte presents the award to Ken Kragen       Ken Kragen, County of L.A. Deputy Chief of Protocol Lourdes Saab, IVCLA Dinner Chair Cecile Munoz

International Citizen Award Recipients have included:

2006
Ken Kragen
Ken Kragen has successfully managed some of the world’s most important entertainers including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Olivia Newton John, The Smothers Brothers and many others. His philanthropic work has included organizing the We Are the World Concert, founding USA for Africa, and organizing Hands Across America to raise funds and awareness for global poverty alleviation.

2004
Dr. H. John Shammas
Dr. Shammas is a prominent leader in the Lebanese Community and a Founder of the House of Lebanon. He is also a highly regarded opthamologist, with several clinics in the Los Angeles Area. Dr. Shammas is the recipient of the 2004 Cedars of Lebanon Medal, in recognition of his many accomplishments.

2003
Carl Terzian
Chairman of the Board and CEO of Carl Terzian Associates, a public relations firm that has served 4,500 causes, corporations and institutions since it was founded, over 40 years ago. Mr. Terzian has been recognized throughout the world for his civic and professional leadership.

2002
John D. Argue
A respected attorney, specializing in the field of sports. Named “The Man Responsible for Bringing the 1984 Olympic to Los Angeles” by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and awarded The Olympic Order by the IOC. Mr. Argue passed away in 2002.

2000
George D. Kirkland
President, LA, Inc. The Convention & Visitors Bureau. Served as the first U.S. Director of the International Congress and Convention Association. Mr Kirkland passed away in 2001.

1999
Daniel D. Villanueva
Chairman, Bastion Capital Corporation. Serves on numerous civic and charitable boards.

Robert A. Kleist - Lifetime Achievement Award for Citizen Diplomacy
Corporate Advisor for Evergreen America Corporation. Actively participated in numerous international organizations and served as Chairman of the Sister Cities of Los Angeles, Inc. Mr. Kleist passed away in 2003.

1998
Daniel P. Garcia
Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plans. Actively supports many civic organizations.

1997
Shaukat Aziz
Currently serves as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Formerly Executive Vice President of Citicorp and its principal subsidiary Citibank.

The Honorable Tom Bradley
Former Mayor of Los Angeles, serving an unprecedented five terms. Credited for transforming Los Angeles into an international city. Mayor Bradley passed away in 1998.

1996
Anita Defrantz
President of the Amateur Athletic Foundation and member of the International Olympic Committee. She won the 1976 Olympic Bronze medal in rowing.

Shinji Sakai
Senior Managing Director, Toyota Motor Corporation. While in Los Angeles he was an admired community participant and a beloved supporter of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Jack Valenti
President, Motion Picture Association of America. From 1963-1966, he served as Special Assistant to President Lyndon Johnson.

Robert D. Kleist
The annual fundraiser gala was renamed The Robert D. Kleist International Citizen Award Dinner in 2003 to honor Robert D. Kleist, Chairman Emeritus and founding board member of IVCLA, who passed away in September of 2003. Mr. Kleist was active in civic, professional and cultural activities and was a leading promoter of Citizen Diplomacy.

In addition to his work with IVCLA Mr. Kleist was appointed Chairman of Sister Cities of Los Angeles by Mayor Richard Riordan, served as Chairman of the California Council for International Trade, Chairman of the Los Angeles Steamship Association and Secretary of Commerce Appointee to the District Export Council. He was also a Past President of the Foreign Trade Association of Southern California and World Trade Center Association for Los Angeles/Long Beach and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Japan America Society. He was a beloved member of the community during his lifetime and his contributions will continue to be recognized through the Robert D. Kleist International Citizen Award.

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