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Vandenberg Award

Arthur H. Vandenberg Award

for Promoting International Cooperation​

The Arthur H. Vandenberg Award Endowment to Michigan State University International Studies and Programs provides for collaboration with the Greater Lansing United Nations Association in organizing the annual United Nation Anniversary dinner and program commemorating the founding of the United Nations on October 24, 1945. The endowment and award honors Michigan’s US Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg who led the US Congressional Delegation in approving the United States government as a founding and charter member of the United Nations. Criteria for selection of recipients of the Vandenberg Award include ” A national record of building international cooperation and continuing strong US engagement as a leading member of the United Nations following the example of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg”. Below are previous awardees.

2023 Vandenberg Awardee

Jeffrey Sachs


Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed the Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Co-Chair of the Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition, Commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development, academician of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences at the Vatican, and Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Honorary Distinguished Professor at Sunway University.

He has been Special Advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary General António Guterres. He spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, where he received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. Sachs has received 42 honorary doctorates, and his recent awards include the 2022 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development, the Legion of Honor by decree of the President of the Republic of France, and the Order of the Cross from the President of Estonia. His most recent books are The Ages of Globalization: Geography, Technology, and Institutions (2020) and Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development (2022).

2022 Vandenberg Awardee

Terrie Taylor, DO


Terrie E. Taylor, D.O. has been a life-long resident of Traverse City, Michigan. She attended Swarthmore College and the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, and then interned at Riverside Osteopathic Hospital in Trenton, Michigan. Her first global health experience was in 1982, in the context of an NIH-funded research project in the Sudan – her interest in parasitic diseases, her delight in the challenges of working in research limited settings and her willingness to share all of this with medical students culminated in a faculty position at the Michigan State University College of Medicine in 1986 (following an internal medicine residency at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital and a Masters level course at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine).

Since then, Dr. Taylor has lived and worked in Malawi for six months each year. Her research focus is the pathogenesis of severe malaria in Malawian children – and she has enjoyed hosting 24 final year medical students from Michigan State each year in Malawi during her time in Malawi every year.

She arrived in Malawi 3 years before the University of Malawi College of Medicine (now the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences) was established, and one of the joys of her job has been aiding and abetting the capacity-building activities generating new Malawian clinicians and clinical investigators. She has been there for the entire course of the HIV and COVID epidemics.

Dr. Taylor has also been privileged to observe, up close, the emergence of a multi-party democracy in Malawi — and the amazing overturning of a truly fraudulent election by a concerned citizenry and an engaged judicial system.

2021 Vandenberg Awardee


Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to be the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations as well as the Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations on January 20, 2021.  She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 23, 2021, and sworn in on February 24, 2021, by the Vice President of the United States of America. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career diplomat, returned to public service after retiring from a 35-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service in 2017.

From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, where she led the bureau focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa.  Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2012-2013), leading a team in charge of the State Department’s 70,000-strong workforce.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s distinguished Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and postings in Switzerland (at the United States Mission to the United Nations, Geneva), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. In Washington, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs (2006-2008), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (2004-2006).

After retiring from the U.S. State Department in 2017, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield led the Africa Practice at Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic commercial diplomacy firm chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  She was also the inaugural Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University from fall 2017 to spring 2019.

2019 Vandenberg Awardee


Waltz began her research career studying the development of human rights in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. Later, she studied the historical contributions of smaller nations in shaping the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She documented the important role of non-governmental organizations and activists in advocating for the development of human rights treaties, including the Convention Against Torture.

Susan Waltz’s work as an advocate and activist for human rights has been informed by her prodigious high-quality scholarship that has given legitimacy and standing to her ethics and policies.

She has volunteered in a variety of capacities for Amnesty International – as an expert on North Africa, U.S. delegate to International Council Meetings, as the first American to serve as chairperson of Amnesty’s International Executive Committee, and as a member of its international governing board.

For twenty years she has been involved in Amnesty’s work on weapons transfers, making numerous presentations at the United Nations and elsewhere to promote the Arms Trade Treaty.

Waltz’s knowledge of the major impacts of U.S. weapons exports in human rights violations around the world led her to work to curtail extralegal traffic in weapons and to strengthen the legal order governing trade in weapons and pushing the U.S. to support the International Arms Trade Treaty in 2014 which subsequently was signed and ratified by 104 nations. Recently, she has worked to reverse the Trump administration’s plans to loosen controls on the export of semi-automatic weapons.

Throughout her career, Susan Waltz’s work has been shaped by the core commitments and practices of her Quaker faith. This led her to serve on the board of the American Friends Service Committee and direct both AFSC’s International Program Executive Committee and the Quaker United Nations New York office that works to reduce conflict and support peace.

2018 Vandenberg Awardee


David Wiley, Professor Emeritus in Sociology and African Studies at Michigan State University, has shown a lifelong commitment to international cooperation and to the United Nations as a scholar and through his civic engagement. Dr. Wiley worked with others to co-found anti-apartheid organizations across Michigan, New Jersey, Wisconsin Princeton, and the nation. He participated in efforts at MSU to advocate for the first total divestment of the university’s holdings from companies operating in South Africa, the first such sanction nationally. His commitment to anti-colonial and anti-apartheid efforts spanned decades.

During Dr. Wiley’s 31 years as director of the MSU African Studies Center, it was designated as a U.S. National Resource Center for African Language and Area Studies. The Center has grown to be the largest such faculty in the nation, producing more work on African development and more Ph.D.s than any other U.S. university. As national president of the African Studies Association, he lead the effort to develop a policy of ethics in research in Africa including declining U.S. military and intelligence funds for African studies, a position adopted by all the major U.S. African Studies Centers and the African Studies Association. At MSU, he also became a co-founder of the Center for Advanced Study of International Development, the Women in International Development Program (now Center for Gender Studies in a Global Context), and the Institute for International Health.

Dr. Wiley was one of the founders and co-chair of the national Association of Concerned Africa Scholars to create a group where white and African-American scholars of Africa in the U.S. could work to seek a more pro-African U.S. policy. He worked to build equitable partnerships between the scholars of Africa in the U.S. and the scholars in Africa. His efforts led to guidelines that called for transparency, reciprocity, and equality in U.S. research, scholarly, and academic partnerships with universities in South Africa which led to the adoption of similar guidelines across the U.S. and Africa.

As Vice Chairperson of U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 1982-85, he headed the effort to keep the U.S. from withdrawing from UNESCO and terminating its funding. He continues advocating for the United Nations in his role of Vice President for Advocacy in the Greater Lansing United Nations Association.

2017 Vandenberg Awardee


As a ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Stabenow has been a champion for international food aid security and is a strong supporter of the United Nations World Food Program. In 2014, she received the World Food Program USA’s McGovern-Dole Leadership Award for her work on the Farm Bill, which authorizes several programs implemented by the WFP like the Food for Peace Title II and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. Senator Stabenow is also a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over international trade issues. In recognition of this work, she was named a member of former President Obama’s Export Council in 2010.

Senator Stabenow has consistently supported policies and programs to strengthen international cooperation. Last year, she supported emergency funding to help with the global humanitarian relief efforts responding to the Syrian refugee crisis. In addition to the World Food and other humanitarian aid initiatives, Senator Stabenow has been a strong advocate for global health, education, and climate change programs. Senator Stabenow also supports important initiatives including the United Nations Population Fund, Children’s Fund, and the Paris Climate Agreement. During her time in the Senate, she voted for the treaty ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Senator Stabenow strongly supports continued U.S. membership in the United Nations and the important role the United States plays as a global leader.