The U.S. Department of State recently held its 18th annual Awards for Corporate Excellence (ACE). Two leading USCIB member companies, General Electric and McDonald’s, headed the list of six recipients honored for exceptional proactive corporate responsibility programs in specific foreign countries. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken handed out the awards in an impressive ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room. Under Secretary for Economic Growth Cathy Novelli and Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Ziad Haidar also participated in the ceremonies. USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly, a former U.S ambassador and State Department official, represented USCIB at the event.
General Electric and McDonald’s were the two winners in the “Inclusive Hiring Practices” category. GE was honored for co-founding the country’s first all-women business services center, which now employs over 1,000 Saudi and non-Saudi women, servicing a fifth of the company’s worldwide service needs. Mazen Dalati, chief operating officer of GE Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, accepted the award. GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt also spoke via a video message.
McDonald’s Deutschland was also honored in the “Inclusive Hiring Practices” category. McDonald’s Deutschland has led by example to support refugees’ integration into Germany’s society and workforce. Since 2015, McDonald’s Deutschland has employed over 900 refugees across the country. The company also provided over 20,000 online German Language learning course licenses to help refugees prepare for the workforce in Germany. Sam Tatevosyan, McDonald’s director of global government and public affairs, accepted the award on behalf of McDonald’s Deutschland and the entire company.
Other winners included Andela (Nigeria) in the “Small and Medium Enterprise” category, Bureo (Chile) and Interface (Philippines) in the “Sustainable Oceans Management “ category, and Freeport McMoran for “Transparent Operations” category for its Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru. U.S.-based companies operating overseas are nominated for these annual awards by the local U.S. ambassadors. Competition is intense with many deserving nominees ever year. GE is repeat winner, having been recognized in 2007 for its work in Indonesia. Previous winners over the past 18 years included USCIB companies such as Coca-Cola (Philippines and Egypt), Intel (Vietnam), Proctor and Gamble (Nigeria and Pakistan), Cisco Systems (Israel and Jordan), Goldman Sachs (Chile), and Chevron (Nigeria).
The audience at last week’s ceremony included U.S. government officials, foreign ambassadors, the business community and the media. The ceremony was webcast around the world by the Department of State. More details on the Department of State’s ACE awards program, the ceremony, and this year’s winners can be found here.