Leadership in Global Engagement Award
For the 75th anniversary of the Denver Council on Foreign Relations the organization began awarding distinguished members of the community with the Leadership in Global Engagement AwardRecepients are recognized for their outstanding achievements in linking Denver, the Front Range, and Colorado via global, international, national, statewide, and local engagement.

2021: George Sparks
The 2021 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is Dr. Douglas Jackson.

George Sparks has been the President & CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since November 2004. He spent 24 years in the electronics measurement business at Hewlett-Packarge and Agilent Technologies. His career included marketing, sales, and general management of global business in software, systems, and services.

George’s career and impact have literally traversed the globe. As an executive for Hewlett Packard, he ran global projects for more than 20 years, leading research and development and marketing teams in Scotland, Japan and Germany. In one role, he led a team of 1800 technical support people in 16 different time zones, integrating many different cultural expectations and norms. And as vice president for Hewlett Packard’s wireless communications business, his team created tools and software for cellular technology developers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. While leading international teams spread across the world, George flew 2 million miles, meeting with team members and customers.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

As president & CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, George has guided the museum and supported staff through a multi-year process to establish a relationship with Madagascar and to bring an internationally renowned scientific campaign from Stony Brook University to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The Madagascar Project, now run from the Museum, seeks to illuminate the deep history of evolution of life on islands. Having generated dozens of grants, hundreds of scientific articles, and thousands of fossil specimens, this project continues to produce incredible science including last year's publication of the "crazy beast" in Nature Magazine.

George provided the overall Museum leadership and trustee management necessary to garner approval for an international repatriation of 30 vigango, or memorial statues, to the Mijikenda of coastal Kenya. The Mijikenda believe vigango embody the soul of deceased elders, and the Museum’s belief is that it should not be in the business of curating souls. After a 12-year effort, that repatriation was successfully consummated in 2019. In 2016, the Museum lent three Russian gem-carving sculptures by Vasily Konovalenko from its collection to the Moscow Kremlin Museums for a three-month exhibition. Believing that Museums are fundamentally about sharing culture, George approved the loan at a time when most American museums refused to loan objects to the Russian Federation.

Additionally, George participates in the G12 – a formal group of 12 of the largest natural history Museums in the U.S. – exchanging ideas and best practices on critical topics such as integrating collections and repatriating cultural artifacts to colonized peoples.

2020: Dr. Doug Jackson
The 2020 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is Dr. Douglas Jackson.

Dr. Douglas Jackson serves as the President and CEO of Project C.U.R.E. Each week, Project C.U.R.E. delivers approximately four semi-truck loads of donated medical supplies and equipment to desperately needy people around the world. Since 1987, Project C.U.R.E. has delivered equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics in over 135 countries. In addition to delivering approximately equipment and supplies, Project C.U.R.E. sends teams of medical professionals to assist partner hospitals and clinics. They also provide hundreds of hours of training through the Helping Babies Breathe and Helping Mothers Survive curriculum. More than 20,000 people volunteer with Project C.U.R.E. every year, making the organization one of the most efficient and effective grass-roots organizations in the country.

In conjunction with his work at Project C.U.R.E., Dr. Jackson has taught at the university level in the disciplines of finance, investments, leadership development, legal and international issues. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer at colleges and universities, conferences such as TEDx, as well as civic, corporate and community organizations.

Dr. Jackson is a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and is a past President of the Denver Rotary Club #31.


2019: Kim Day

The 2019 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is Ms. Kim Day.

Kim Day was destined for a career in aviation.  As a U.S. Air Force brat, Kim was exposed to travel and airplanes at an early age. She developed a love of travel, despite being dragged with her brother to every Civil War battlefield in America. Her interest in airports came after receiving a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree from Cornell University, and practicing architecture for more than 20 years. After working on office buildings, hotels, and prisons (hotels without the nice finishes and furniture), she began work on airports – and found her passion.

Kim’s new-found passion led a transition from the private sector to Los Angeles World Airports—the agency that manages Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport, Van Nuys Airport, and Palmdale Regional Airport. There she initially oversaw design and construction, and later was appointed as executive director.

In 2007, she traveled to Denver to interview with then-Mayor John Hickenlooper for the position of manager of aviation for Denver International Airport (DEN).  Mayor Hickenlooper recognized her architectural background as a skillset that not only includes the ability to create a vision but also the love of follow through to achieve it. 

In 2007, she traveled to Denver to interview with then-Mayor John Hickenlooper for the position of manager of aviation for Denver International Airport (DEN).  Mayor Hickenlooper recognized her architectual background as a skillset that only includes the ability to create a vision but also the love of follow through to achieve it. 

With an eye for detail (that her staff often wishes wasn’t so sharp) and ability to see the large picture, Kim has led DEN for 11 years and has set in motion the program that completed the airport’s original vision, including an airport hotel and a transit center that connects the airport with downtown Denver by commuter rail. She’s now leading the effort to reimagine DEN’s iconic, tented Jeppesen Terminal, as well as adding 39 new gates to accommodate the airport’s continued growth in passenger traffic. Kim also lead the development of DEN’s strategic land use plan for the airport’s real estate program.

Although she misses the ocean, Kim has made a home with her two cats in downtown Denver. Under her direction, DEN was named America’s best large airport by the Wall Street Journal in 2018. Kim often says she has the “best job in America” as the leader of DEN, the region’s primary economic engine and fifth-largest commercial airport in the United States.  With over 64 million passengers annually DEN boasts a robust network of more than 200 destinations served, including an ever-growing list of international destinations and more conspiracy theories than one can count.

2018: Social Science Foundation (SFF)
The 2018 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is the Social Science Foundation (SFF)

The Social Science Foundation (SSF) supports the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.  It was established in 1923 and today manages a multi-million dollar trust, the proceeds of which are dedicated to promoting the study and application of international relations at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  In recent years, the SSF has helped finance the school's unique certificate programs in global health and humanitarian assistance, while providing seed capital for new centers and research institutes. 

The SSF is a distinguished panel of respected leaders in their fields that are dedicated to the continuing progress of the Joseph Korbel School by: advising the dean on the strategic directions of the school, supporting new programs financially, enhacing the reputation and improving the visibility of the school, assisting the dean in efforts to secure funding from resources outside the university to achieve the school's goals, and supporting ongoing alumni and public relations.

2017: Professor Ved Nanda
The 2017 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is Professor Ved Nanda

On May 10th, DCFR concluded its exciting year by hosting the 2017 Leader in Global Engagement Award celebration where the award was presented to Professor Ved Nanda.  This annual event was the organization’s fourth gala in which it awarded an outstanding patron of the Rocky Mountain Region for their historic contributions to the international community. 

Professor Ved Nanda is not only a pillar of the local Denver community, but one whose extensive contributions to the national and international law communities have earned him this year’s Award.
Born in India, Professor Nanda earned his B.A., M.A., from Punjab University, India, 1952.  He continued his education, earning his LL.B. in 1955 and his LL.M. in 1958 from Delhi University, India.  By 1962, he had earned his LL.M. from Northwestern University, Graduate Fellow, Yale University.  Having beenintroduced to International Law at Yale—one of the first U.S. schools in this discipline—he moved to Denver in 1965 to teach at the University of Denver Sturm School of Law where he introduced the International Human Rights & Law course—the second in the nation.  By 1972, he had created the school’s International Legal Studies Program and the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.

Currently, Professor Nanda is the Director of the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  He was awarded the University of Denver’s John Evans Distinguished University Professor in addition to the Thompson G. Marsh Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Professor Nanda actively participates on the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors of several national and international scholarly societies and nongovernmental organizations. His awards include the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building from Soka Gakkai International and Morehouse College (2004), the World Jurist Association’s Highest Order of Justice “World Legal Scholar Award” in Beijing, China (1990), and the United Nations Association Human Rights Award (1997). He has received honorary doctorates from Soka University in Tokyo, Japan and from Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India.

Widely published, Professor Nanda has authored or co-authored 25 books and more than 200 major law review articles and chapter in the various fields of international law.  He is a frequent guest on television and radio, and writes regularly on international issues for The Denver Post.

2016: Daniel L. Ritchie
The 2016 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is Daniel L. Ritchie

In January 2007, Daniel L. Ritchie became Chairman and CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, one of the largest cultural complexes in the United States, a position he held until 2017.  Prior to that,  he was Chairman of the Board of the University of Denver from 2005 to 2007 where he served as the 16th Chancellor for 16 years from 1989 to 2005.

Ritchie's involvement with the University of Denver began in 1983 when he became a trustee. He served as vice chairman of the board and chaired the development committee before becoming Chancellor.

In his nearly 20 years of involvement with DU, the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain region, the school has steadily gained stature and strengthened academic programs. In 2001, the University concluded the largest fund-raising campaign in its history, topping the $200 million goal by nearly $74 million. A $450 million construction and renovation program, mostly funded by private contributions, has changed the campus's culture and skyline. Among improvements are new  buildings  for
student residence, business, science, law and music education; a center forathletics, recreation and wellness; a performing arts center; and more funds for scholarships.

Ritchie was CEO of Westinghouse Broadcasting for eight years before moving to Colorado in 1987. That year, the long-time corporate executive began a new life on Grand River Ranch, a large property he had owned near Kremmling for many years. The move to Colorado capped a career of nearly 30 years spent in executive positions with MCA, Inc. and Westinghouse.

Ritchie currently serves as President of the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, which focuses on early childhood education and development, and he is Chairman of the Board of the Daniels Fund, which supports programs that encourage personal responsibility and achievement by funding college scholarships and community programs. Ritchie has also served as chair of the Education Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board.

Some of Ritchie’s awards include: The Citizen of the West Award given by the National Western Stock Show to an individual who exemplifies the spirit and determination of the Western pioneer; the National Samaritan Institute Award; the Gold Medal Award of the Poor Richard Club; Outstanding Philanthropist at National Philanthropy Day; the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee; a Laureate member of the Colorado Business Hall of Fame and the Ethical Leadership Award from the University of Denver.
He holds both undergraduate and MBA degrees from Harvard.

2015: Ambassador Christopher R. Hill
 ​​​​​​​The 2015 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is Ambassador Christopher R. Hill

Ambassador Hill served as a peace corps volunteer in the Republic of Cameroon from 1974 - 1976 before joining the State Department in 1977.  Throughout his diplomatic career, he served as Ambassador of the United States to the Former Yugoslav Repbulic of Macedonia from 1996 - 1999, Special Envoy to Kosovo from 1998-1999, Ambassador to Poland from 2000 - 2004, and Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2004 - 2005.  Ambassador Hill went on to be appointed Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the head of delegation for the 'six-party talks' that aimed to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis of 2005.  President Barrack Obama nominated him for the post of US Ambassador to Iraq in 2009.  After retiring from the State Department, Ambassador Hill joined the University of Denver as Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.  

2014: Mayor Michael Hancock
 ​​​​​​​The 2014 recipient of the Leadership in Global Engagement Award is Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

Michael B. Hancock, who became the city’s 45th mayor in July 2011,  immediately began to transform Denver into a more globally competitive city. With the fifth-busiest airport in the United State serving more than 54 million passengers per year, Mayor Hancock is leveraging Denver International Airport (DIA) to make the entire Denver region a major gateway to the world.

The Mayor has also developed strategic short- and long-term business plans to support and grow Denver’s diverse, intelligent and forward-leaning businesses in emerging industries such as clean energy, bio-technology, telecommunications, aerospace and healthcare. Denver’s economy is at the forefront of American cities, offering among the strongest job and housing markets in the U.S.
The Mayor believes there is nothing more important than helping every young person in every neighborhood compete and succeed in the 21st Century economy. He is aligning all City departments with nonprofits, businesses and educational organizations to better prepare all children for every stage of life through new initiatives such as the Denver Children’s Cabinet and Denver Education Compact.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Michael Hancock served on the Denver City Council for eight years, including two as City Council President. In his early career, he worked for the Denver Housing Authority and National Civic League, and was the youngest President of an Urban League chapter in America.  Mayor Hancock is married to musician and performer Mary Louise Lee, and is the proud father of three children: Alayna, Jordan and Janae.