On September 19, Woodrow Wilson Center President and Director Lee H. Hamilton announced the establishment of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Awards Dinner in support of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Kennan Institute.

The Wilson Center will honor two individuals with the Woodrow Wilson Award—one for corporate citizenship, one for public service—at each of these dinners. The Davis family will contribute $500,000 annually to underwrite these dinners and provide critical support for the Kennan Institute's programming on Russia and the surrounding states.

The announcement was made following the Woodrow Wilson Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. to benefit the Kennan Institute, at which Kathryn W. Davis received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service. John H. Tyson of Tyson Foods, Inc. was also honored at the dinner with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship.

"The Davis family has shown a commitment to international education and understanding that is simply extraordinary," said Hamilton in his announcement. "Indeed, it is impossible to calculate the impact they have had on institutions and individuals here in the U.S. and around the world. Because of this support, the Kennan Institute will be able to continue to enhance its vital work on behalf of increased American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the other countries of the region... and because of this support, the causes of international education and understanding that are so dear to the Davis family will be advanced."

Blair Ruble, director of the Kennan Institute, said, "Kathryn Davis and her family have done far more than any other institution, group, or individual in this country to ensure that the United States will continue to have the capacity to study Russia in the years ahead. All of us who have custodianship for the Kennan Institute are in their debt; indeed, everyone in this country who cares about Russian studies should stand in awe of all that they have done for our field in its entirety."

"My hope for Russia is to see it an independent, strong nation with good ideas of democracy and kindness toward its people," said Kathryn Davis. "Toward that end, we need institutions like the Kennan Institute that help build and maintain dialogue between our two countries and our two peoples in times of good relations and bad."

The first Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Awards Dinner will be held sometime next year.

The Kennan Institute was founded as a division of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in December of 1974, through the joint initiative of Ambassador George F. Kennan, then Wilson Director James Billington, and historian S. Frederick Starr. Named in honor of Ambassador Kennan's relative, George Kennan "the Elder," a nineteenth century explorer of Russia and Siberia, the Kennan Institute is committed to improving American expertise and knowledge about Russia and the former Soviet Union.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the living, national memorial to President Wilson. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds, engaged in the study of national and world affairs. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue.