Foreign Policy Research Institute

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The Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Service

An inventor, entrepreneur, writer, diplomat, and lover of liberty, Benjamin Franklin devoted himself from an early age to public service and the resolution of problems through objective analysis that draws upon the best knowledge available - setting the standard to which FPRI has always aspired.  In 2005, on the occasion of FPRI'a 50th anniversary and on the eve of Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday, we were pleased to inaugurate the annual Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Service, to be awarded each year to the American whose service as a statesman, sage, or soldier best exemplifies the iseals of Benjamin Frnaklin and the United States.  Dr. Henry A. Kissinger was the first honoree, followed by Charles Krathammer, Philip Zelikow, John R. Bolton, Robert D. Kaplan, Niall Ferguson, Fouad Ajami, and Walter Russell Mead.

Related: Benjamin Franklin and the Traditions of American Diplomacy (204 KB ) by Dr. Harvey Sicherman, former President of FPRI


2013 Recipient:

General Mattis is widely known within the U.S. military as the most revered Marine Corps officer in a generation. With a reputation for candor, a career of combat achievements, and a library that once spanned 7,000 books, Gen. Mattis has a record of over 41 years of public service.  Modern military historians chronicle him as one of America's great soldier-scholars. In March 2013, he ended his service as the eleventh commander of U.S. Central Command, where he was responsible for U.S. military activities in one of the world's most volatile regions, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1972, Mattis has commanded at every level in the Marine Corps. As a lieutenant colonel, he commanded 1st Battalion, 7th Marines during the first Gulf War. As a brigadier general, he commanded Task Force 58, which, shortly after 9/11 conducted an amphibious assault to seize the airfield at Kandahar, Afghanistan. During the invasion of Iraq, Major General Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division on the “march up” to Baghdad. Before his posting to USCENTCOM, Gen. Mattis commanded U.S. Joint Forces Command, becoming one of only a few general officers to hold two four-star billets.

Past Recipients:


2012

Walter Russell Mead is the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College, and Editor-at-Large of American Interest Magazine. Until 2011, he was a Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy at Yale, and, until 2010, the Henry Kissinger fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. The author of three critically acclaimed books, Mr. Mead writes regularly on international affairs for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many other leading journals. He frequently appears on national and international radio and television programs. His book, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), was widely hailed by reviewers, historians, and diplomats. His most recent book is God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World (Alfred A. Knopf). His always provocative blog, Via Meadia, is widely read and can be accessed here: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/


2011

Fouad Ajami is one of the most astute observers of the Middle East, with a poet's gift for expression on display in his many essays for Foreign Affairs magazine, the Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and elsewhere. Particularly at this time of turmoil throughout the Middle East, he is a ubiquitous presence on CNN.  A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Southern Lebanon, Professor Ajami is a senior fellow at The Hoover Institution and co-chairman of Hoover's Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. Until recently, he was the Majid Khadduri professor and Director of Middle East Studies at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a post he held for 30 years. Between 1989 and 2008, he was a contributing editor for U.S. News and World Report. In June 2002, he was elected by the members of the Council on Foreign Relations to a five-year term on the Council's Board of Directors, and re-elected in 2007. His books include The Arab Predicament; The Vanished Imam; The Dream Palace of the Arabs; and The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs and the Iraqis in Iraq.  Professor Ajami has been the recipient of the MacArthur Prize Fellowship, the Bradley Prize for Outstanding Achievement, the National Humanities Medal and the Eric Breindel Prize in Journalism.


2010

Niall Ferguson is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and the William Ziegler Professor at Harvard Business School. He also is a Contributing Editor to the Financial Times (London) and a Regular Contributor to Newsweek Magazine. He is the author of several highly regarded books including: The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (Penguin, 2008), War of the World: 20th Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006). Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (Penguin (2004), and Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order (Basic, 2003). In 2004, Time Magazine named him "one of the world's hundred most influential people." His most recent book is High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg (Penguin, June 2010).


2009

Robert D. Kaplan is a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He continues to write on a range of foreign policy and national security issues for The Atlantic Monthly and is now writing a book on the future of the Indian Ocean region. His books, several of which were written under grants received through FPRI, include Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground (2007); Imperial Grunts(2005), Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus(2000); and Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History (1993).  Kaplan’s essays have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street JournalWashington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He has been a consultant to the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Regiment, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Marines, and has lectured at military war colleges, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, major universities, the CIA, and business forums. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls Kaplan among the four “most widely read” authors defining the post-Cold War era (along with Francis Fukuyama, the late Samuel Huntington, and Yale Professor Paul Kennedy). He has received the U.S. State Department Distinguished Public Service Award. In July 2009 he was named to the Defense Policy Board.


2008

Ambassador John Bolton served as the Permanent U.S. Representative to the UN from August 2005 until December 2006. He had previously served as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Securityand in several positions within the State Department, the Justice Department and USAID. Before entering government service Bolton was Senior Vice President for Public Policy Research at the American Enterprise Institute.




2007

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia and serves on the advisory panel for global development of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From 2005-07 he was Counselor of the State Department, and in 2003-04 he was executive director of the 9/11 Commission, the most wide-ranging government investigation in U.S. history. In 2001 he directed the Carter-Ford commission on federal election reform, which successfully guided legislation and spending to revamp America's election systems. From 2001-03 he was also a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.


2006

Charles Krauthammer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, writes a nationally syndicated column for The Washington Post. Also winner of the 1984 National Magazine Award for essays, he began writing the column for the Post in January 1985. It appears in more than 150 newspapers. He is also a monthly essayist for Time magazine, a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and The New Republic, and a weekly panelist on Inside Washington.





2005

Henry A. Kissinger was the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977, continuing to hold the position of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, which he first assumed in 1969, until 1975. After leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates,  an international consulting firm, of which he is chairman.  Secretary Kissinger has written many books and articles on United States foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history.