At its annual meeting on January 16, 2021, the board of directors of UNA-MN presented it’s highest award – the Harold E. Stassen Award – to G. Stuart Ackman and D. Mark Ritchie.
“These individuals well deserve this high honor because they have spent decades of their life promoting the mission and agenda of the United Nations, engaging in relentless advocacy work for international cooperation, and organizing and conducting numerous programs and events at UNA-MN and like-minded groups,” said Jay Shahidi, member of the National Council of UNA and past president of the Minnesota chapter. “I am requesting your approval to present this award now to Stu Ackman and Mark Ritchie for decades of committed and concerted service to our organization,” Shahidi told the 2020 board at the time of their nomination.
The UNA-MN Board of Directors established the Harold E. Stassen Award in 2016 as the highest award the organization presents to a person of exceptional commitment and service to the association and/or like-minded organizations and/or the United Nations.
Stu Ackman has been a board member of UNA-MN several times and has served as president twice. Despite the highly discouraging financial problems as a result of declining grants in the past few years and the COVID-19 health crisis, he has worked diligently, relentlessly and successfully to reorganize and keep our chapter viable and productive. He has stayed engaged and true to our mission, and even when not serving in a board capacity, he has sincerely helped to plan and carry out our programs and events.
Mark Ritchie, a former Minnesota Secretary of State and current President of Global Minnesota, has been a long-time and indefatigable member and supporter of our organization. He was a great spokesperson for the UN and international cooperation as a state official and before that as the founding president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Since taking the leadership role at Global Minnesota, he has directed his team to partner with us at the state and national levels to promote and advocate for our agenda and programs. At all levels, he has championed the acceptance and adoption of UN causes and actions in general and the Sustainable Development Goals in particular.
Past Recipients include: Mr. James (Jim) Nelson, Congressman Arlen Erdahl, Dr. Joseph Schwartzberg, Representative Emily Ann Tuttle, Ambassador Robert Flaten, Ms. Leila Poulada, Ms. Diane Clayton, and Ms. Heather Branigin.