Started back in 1998 by American University’s School of International Service, the SIS Alumnus Award was created to honor an SIS graduate or undergraduate alumnus/a who exemplifies the ideals and values of the school – a change agent serving the community and helping to make the world a better place in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. It is the school’s highest alumnus award.
Some of the former recipients of the SIS Award have been:
James T. Brett (2007)– A former American politician, who currently serves as the president and CEO of The New England Council.
Tom Lewis (2009)- A former professional golfer from England
James M. Brady (2010)– An American journalist & former Executive Editor of the washingtonpost.com
John Prendergast (2012)- An American human rights activist, author, and former Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council
This year, Chad W. Bissonnette joined this pool of influential leaders as the 2014 SIS Alumnus of the Year. Chad was nominated by friends, family, and colleagues and then chosen by a selection committee that received more than 30 nominations from around the world. And on Thursday April 10th 2014, nearly a hundred people gathered at The Embassy of Brazil in Washington, DC to honor the work and contributions of Chad and the organization he co-founded in 2007, Roots of Development. Amongst the attendees that evening were Dr. James Goldgeier, the Dean of the School of International Service, who presented him with the award, and the Haitian Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Paul Altidor who has been a long-time friend and supporter of Roots of Development.
In his speech, Chad highlighted:
“I was 25 years old when I started Roots. I was 25 years old when I was faced with the opportunity to directly fight poverty…to define the role I was going to have in that fight…to make a mark on the world.
American University, both through the School of International Studies and the Washington Semester Program, supported me so that I could develop into the person I wanted to be…which then ironically enough allowed me to begin supporting others as they become the people (and communities) they want to be.”
Help us congratulate Chad on this incredible honor!