ABA’s Susan Neely Named Global Citizen of the Year

South Orange, New Jersey (November 25, 2011) — Seton Hall University’s John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations will honor Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association (ABA), with its prestigious 2011 Global Citizen of the Year Award at its Global Leadership Gala. The event is scheduled for Thursday, December 1, 2011, at The New York Public Library, Steven A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, New York City. Governor Tom Ridge, who served as the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is special guest speaker. Award-winning journalist David Brancaccio serves as master of ceremonies.

“Susan Neely is a superb choice for the Whitehead School’s Global Citizen of the Year. Her life is a model of service and dedication. She is a perfect example of the type of servant leadership to which our students aspire,” said Ambassador John K. Menzies, dean of the Whitehead School, in making the announcement.

More than 250 dignitaries are expected to celebrate the achievements of Ms. Neely at this philanthropic gathering that enables the Whitehead School to offer programming opportunities, including the signature World Leaders Forum lecture series where students and the public are able to discuss current global concerns with international leaders, diplomats, and Nobel Laureates. Through this initiative, the Whitehead School recently hosted United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Tony Blair. The School’s largest single fundraiser, the Gala has raised more than $1 million for the Whitehead School.

“I am honored to be among those who have received this distinguished recognition from such a prestigious institution,” Susan K. Neely said. “I strongly believe that everyone can make a difference in the world in which we live, regardless of gender or race. Service to our communities and country is one of the fundamental ways that we can help leave the world better for future generations.”

The Whitehead School’s Global Leadership Gala honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in international careers. From global health to economic development, education and environmental sustainability, this distinguished group of global citizens addresses high-priority issues in a range of fields.

As president and chief executive officer of the ABA, Ms. Neely’s innovative, solution-oriented leadership of the non-alcoholic beverage industry has helped transform it into a public policy innovator. Through initiatives such as the national School Beverage Guidelines, developed with partners including the William J. Clinton Foundation, and Clear on Calories, a front-of-pack labeling initiative developed in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, ABA and its member companies have advanced positive solutions to society’s challenges here in the United States and abroad. She also has reinvigorated the International Council of Beverage Associations to work collectively on global solutions to issues such as health and the environment. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation.

Her global footprint was well-established prior to taking the reins at ABA. In the midst of a world changed by 9/11, Neely was one of the architects of the nation’s first Department of Homeland Security, where she served in both the White House and then in the Department as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Her work in standing up this new department to better protect America required her to engage in and develop cooperative relationships with leaders in foreign governments and agencies around the globe.

Government service is at the foundation of Ms. Neely’s career, having served in senior positions in the legislative and executive branches in the federal government and state government. She also has significant health care policy and advocacy experience, including positions with the Health Insurance Association of America and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Honorary Co-chairs for the Global Leadership Gala include The Honorable Paula Dobriansky, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Thomson Reuters; Mr. James Filippatos, Vice President of Global Public Policy, The Walt Disney Company; Mrs. Tasia Filippatos, Vice President of Worldwide Communications, Disney Parks & Resorts; The Honorable Karen Hughes, Worldwide Vice Chairman, Burson-Marsteller; The Honorable James Leach, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities; Mr. James A. McGreevy III, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, American Beverage Association; and Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President, The World Food Prize Foundation.

The Global Leadership Gala Reception begins at 7 p.m. with dinner and dancing to follow at 8 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.shu.edu/news/article/368006 or contact the School at (973) 275-2557 or whitehead.events@shu.edu.

About the Whitehead School

The John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations prepares students from around the world to become leaders in a global society. Just minutes from New York City and a few hours from Washington, D.C. the Whitehead School is an ideal place to study international relations and experience diplomacy first hand in a professional, dynamic and culturally rich setting. Through a unique alliance with the United Nations Association of the United States of America, students are exposed to today’s leaders and policymakers.
Students come together from throughout the United States and nearly 40 countries to participate in a multidisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes global studies, multilateral diplomacy, conflict resolution, international economics and leadership. A distinguished faculty of scholars and professionals bring cutting-edge theory and practical perspectives to the classroom. With a growing network of alumni working in the field of international relations, the School is strengthening international institutions, governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations and businesses by contributing well-prepared and talented diplomatic professionals.

The Whitehead School is a leading center for the study of diplomacy and international relations, dedicated to high standards of academic excellence and professional training; extending the frontiers of knowledge; and making a difference in the rapidly changing global environment. For more information about the Whitehead School, visit the Whitehead School’s website at http://diplomacy.shu.edu.

About Seton Hall University

One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. With more than 60 rigorous academic programs, and schools singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, US News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek, Seton Hall exemplifies academic excellence. A student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and an average class size of 20 provide a truly supportive educational environment; students enjoy hands-on guidance from a world-class faculty that includes Fulbright scholars, leading researchers, industry leaders, and former ambassadors. Dozens of Seton Hall students have been chosen for highly selective national and international awards in recent years, including Rhodes, Fulbright, Pickering, and Udall scholarships.

Seton Hall offers superior opportunities for career development before and after graduation. More than 75 percent of students participate in an internship, practicum or clinical program to gain professional experience; the university also boasts a career-related job placement rate 10 to 15 percent above the national average and an international alumni network more than 70,000 strong. The university combines the resources of a large university with the personal attention of a small liberal arts college. Its attractive suburban campus is only 14 miles by train, bus or car to New York City, with the wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities the city offers. As the nation’s oldest diocesan Catholic university, Seton Hall embraces students of all races and religions, challenging each to better the world with integrity, compassion and a commitment to serving others. For more information, visit www.shu.edu