On Wednesday, September 14, the Richard Nixon Foundation welcomed one of the foremost visionaries of our time, Dr. Henry Kissinger, back to the Nixon Library to receive its highest honor, the Architect of Peace Award, and share reflections from his latest book, Leadership.
Dr. Kissinger, 99, serves as a Director Emeritus of the Richard Nixon Foundation. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Throughout the evening, he discussed the qualities of effective leadership, with particular emphasis on President Nixon’s leadership during the Vietnam War and Yom Kippur War.
An elegant candlelit East Room set the stage for a significant gathering in Orange County of senior statesmen, impactful philanthropists and noted national and community leaders, including former National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, former California Governor Pete Wilson, former Executive Chairman and CEO of Google Eric Schmidt, technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel, former U.S. Ambassador to Spain George L. Argyros, basketball champion Ann Meyers Drysdale, the Presidents of Chapman University, California State University at Fullerton and Stanbridge University, thirteen members of the Nixon Foundation’s Board of Directors, and five individuals who served with Dr. Kissinger in the Nixon administration.
The dinner honoring Dr. Kissinger —co-chaired by Lisa Argyros and Ling & Charlie Zhang— raised $800,000 to advance the educational mission of the Richard Nixon Foundation and expand its investments in civics education and programming. Nixon Foundation President and CEO Jim Byron announced that the Foundation will, in 2023, begin developing middle and high school curriculum rooted in American civics; host teacher training sessions every Summer on U.S. foreign policy; establish an application-based undergraduate scholarship program to support those studying foreign policy and history; establish an application-based grant program to underwrite research and travel for students and scholars studying President Nixon or his era; and commit to an expansion of ties with institutions of higher learning.
Toasts were offered to Dr. Kissinger by Lisa Argyros, and to President Nixon by Bruce Whelihan, who served in the Nixon administration.
Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien made his first appearance in his new capacity as Chairman of the Richard Nixon Foundation’s Board of Directors by introducing Dr. Kissinger. In a moment of historical significance, the twenty-seventh National Security Advisor welcomed the seventh National Security Advisor to the stage.
Dr. Kissinger appeared in-conversation on stage with Frank Gannon, who served as a special assistant to President Nixon.
Dr. Kissinger said, “Let me thank you all for the tribute you are paying tonight, not to me, but to a distinguished President whom I have listed among six outstanding world statesmen in my recent book. So I want to thank you, for the courtesies that have been shown to me here and also for the confidence all of you in this room have shown to the memory of Richard Nixon, which is important and crucial at this moment when internal division and international chaos are threatening ever so strongly.”
Wine for the evening was donated by Schramsberg Vineyards. The Blanc de Blacs was the same sparkling wine served by the official American delegation on President Nixon’s historic visit to China 50 years ago.
Musical performances were provided by OC Music and Dance.
Earlier in the evening, Dr. Kissinger signed a book of condolence at the Nixon Library in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Watch Dr. Kissinger in-conversation here: