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Column: European trip moves Atlanta’s quest to host Nobel Laureate summit forward

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 14, 2018

Atlanta’s quest to hold the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in 2020 took a major step forward during a recent visit by an Atlanta delegation to Oslo, Stockholm and Paris to meet with Nobel leaders.

Nobel trip

Lars Heikensten and Olav Njolstad, who represent different Nobel organizations, listen to Atlanta’s presentation in Stockholm (Photo by Bob Hope)

“The trip was sensational,” said an exuberant Bob Hope, a public relations professional who has been leading Atlanta’s Nobel Peace Summit effort. “There was not a dissenting voice from anyone.”The week-long trip (from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5) served as a way for Atlanta leaders to build relationships with the multiple organizations that play a role with the Nobel Peace Prize.

The first stop was in Oslo, where the group met with the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is the home for the Peace Prize. Every year, the Nobel Peace Prize is given at a ceremony at Oslo’s City Hall.

The group met with Olav Njolstad, who serves as secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Njolstad also joined the Atlanta delegation on a trip to Stockholm to meet with the leaders of the Nobel Foundation, which awards all the Nobel prizes.

Nobel

Vanessa Ibarra of the City of Atlanta presents a crystal peach to the Nobel Committee’s Olav Njolstad. Mayor Andrew Young is skyped in the background (Photo by Bob Hope)

In Stockholm, the group met with Lars Heikensten, executive director of the Nobel Foundation, and Mattias Fyrenius, CEO of Nobel Media AB, which is entrusted to manage the media rights connected to the Nobel Prize.

They also met with Olov Amelin, the director of the Nobel Museum, and they were able to tour the museum.

“We told them we were on a good will mission,” Hope said. “We told them about Atlanta and what we are trying to do.”

At both stops, Vanessa Ibarra, the director of international affairs and trade for the City of Atlanta, presented the host leaders with a crystal peach on behalf of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young also was skyped in so he could participate in the meetings.

In addition to Hope, the delegation included:

  • Cannon Carr, chief investment officer of CornerCap Investment Counsel and a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta who is taking a leadership role of the 2020 host committee;
  • Rodney Cook Jr., president of the National Monuments Foundation who is working to develop a peace memorial in Cook Park on the Westside;
  • Sam Konigsberg, an investment counselor with BlackRock;
  • Gaurav Kumar, a director at the Andrew Young Foundation;
  • Dae Shin, a Korean businessman who lives in Johns Creek and has been a key player with the Nobel organization;
  • Carter Jones, who handled the logistics of the trip;
  • Jalal Slade, the City of Atlanta’s senior policy advisory for real estate; and
  • Jim Barnes, Rotary International’s general manager & chief programs and member services officer.

“Rotary is going to help us produce the event along with the Atlanta host committee,” Hope said. “Rotary is the largest membership organization in the world that has peace as part of its mission.”

The trip ended in Paris to have dinner with Ekaterina Zagladina, president of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. And she brought along a couple of her associates as well as Ashley Woods, who is curating the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibition that is opening up at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm on Sept. 28.

“It was all positive,” Hope said. “They all bought into the fact that they needed to refresh the Nobel brand.”

As Hope has said before, there’s a real opportunity for Atlanta to partner with Nobel to promote its unique role as a center of civil and human rights as well as for peace.

“Atlanta can become the Davos of Peace,” Hope said, referring to the annual economic summit in Davos, Switzerland.

Suntrust and Grady

SunTrust Bank Charitable Irrevocable Trust and SunTrust Bank Trusteed Foundations have awarded $750,000 in grants to the Grady Health Foundation to support the hospital’s capital campaign.

The managed trust funds include the Florence C. and Harry L. English Memorial Fund, the Walter H. and Marjory M. Rich Memorial Fund and the Nell Warren Elkin and William Simpson Elkin Foundation.

“SunTrust and Grady are committed to advancing the well-being of others in the communities we serve,” said Stan Little, head of corporate philanthropy at SunTrust Bank. “We’re pleased that our financial support will help families get the medical care they need to ensure their ongoing health.”

The campaign was launched last year as a joint public-private partnership. It will fund two specific projects: a new Center for Advanced Surgical Services on Grady’s main campus that will increase the hospital’s capacity for inpatient and outpatient care, and the expansion of the Ponce Center for HIV/AIDS to better serve patients and conduct more of the cutting-edge research needed to end a growing epidemic.

“We are grateful for this generous gift, which will allow Grady to change and save the lives of even more patients,” said Renay Blumenthal, president of Grady Health Foundation. “SunTrust has a long history of supporting Grady financially, through volunteerism, and even championing our recent cycling fundraiser, VeloCity. This is just another example of how the bank makes an incredible impact on the health and financial welfare of the communities it serves.”

Blumenthal added that the gift will go towards a goal of $90 million from private philanthropy. “So far, we’ve almost reached our goal and have more community interest to help us exceed it,” she said.

“Grady is a critical Atlanta institution that has grown with our community just as SunTrust has,” said Jenna Kelly, chairman of the SunTrust Bank Trusteed Foundations. “We appreciate the important role it plays in responding, improving and delivering exceptional care to our community.”

Southface turns 40

For 40 years, Atlanta-based Southface has been the local leader promoting sustainability — energy and water conservation — in our built environment.

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, Southface held its annual Visionary Dinner to celebrate its four decades. The event was held at Flourish, in Buckhead. The dinner featured a discussion about social equity in the built environment.

The panel included Jeff Tiller, one of the founders of Southface, who helped steer the organization during its early years and continues to work on the growth of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable buildings; and Odetta MacLeish-White, managing director of the Transformation Alliance, a partnership dedicated to creating mixed-income communities anchored by equitable transit-oriented development.

Southface also awarded former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin with its highest award — the 2018 Argon Award.

Franklin currently chairs the executive board of Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit consulting firm that works side-by-side local leaders across the nation to plan and implement a holistic neighborhood revitalization effort.

She was the elected as the first African-American woman mayor of a major Southern city in 2002. She served two four-year terms as mayor.

Annual Global Health Summit

The World Affairs Council will hold its seventh annual Summit on Global Health: Health Resilience & Natural Disasters on Monday, Sept. 17 at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel.

The topic is especially timely this year with Hurricane Florence expected to hit the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia on Friday, Sept. 14 and the weekend. The Summit will explore how Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico a year ago as well as look at how we responded to Hurricane Florence.

Experts will discuss disaster preparedness, emergency response and how communities can build health resilience given the deadly impact natural disasters can have.

The Summit, which lasts from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., is free to attendees.

Among the participants who have confirmed are:

* Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms;
* Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE;
* J. Stephen Morrison, PhD, senior vice president of the Global Health Policy Center for the Center for Strategic and International Studies;
* John Sutter, senior investigative reporter at CNN, who covered the impacts of Hurricane Maria;
* Steve Stirling, CEO and president of MAP International;
* Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson, CEO and president of Uniting for Health Innovation;
* Jeffrey McLeod, director of Homeland Security and Public Safety Division at the National Governors Association:
*Augustus Hudson, director of the Centralized, Command and Control Center at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: and
* Ambassador Charles Shapiro, president of the World Affairs Council.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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