The Vandenberg Prize Luncheon with Ambassador (ret.) Marie Yovanovitch and Bing Goei


The Vandenberg Prize is named after Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg (1881-1951), the inspiration for founding the Council in 1949 by Grand Rapids attorney (and later Federal Judge) Douglas Hillman and businessman Edgar Orr. Senator Vandenberg was an isolationist who became a strong advocate of internationalism in the wake of World War II. Vandenberg forged bipartisan support for the Marshall Plan and NATO and was appointed one of the first U.S. delegates to the brand-new United Nations. Senator Vandenberg has always been considered the “patron saint” of the Council.

The 2022 recipient of the Vandenberg Prize is Ambassador (ret.) Marie Yovanovitch. She is the former Ambassador of the United States to Ukraine (2016-19) at the appointment of President Obama; to Armenia (2008-11) at the appointment of President George W. Bush; and to Kyrgyzstan (2005-2008) at the appointment of President George W. Bush. Ambassador Yovanovitch also held senior positions in the Office of the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and the Bureau of European and Asian Affairs, as well as in U.S. Embassies in Moscow, London, Kyiv, and Mogadishu. In all, her career spanned 33 years with multiple diplomatic awards, including the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, twice. The ambassador was thrust into the national spotlight during the first impeachment trial of President Trump, where she testified from her position as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. Her career is chronicled in a new best-selling memoir by the ambassador titled Lessons from the Edge.…

Bing Goei is the recipient of this year’s Hillman-Orr Award. Mr. Goei was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, and emigrated with his family to Grand Rapids in 1960. He built Eastern Floral into a respected and nationally known company and has used this springboard to start the Goei Center along the Butterworth Avenue corridor and the International Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence to give a boost to women-owned and minority businesses. Always an advocate for those coming to West Michigan from other countries, Mr. Goei was appointed the first director of the State of Michigan Office for New Americans by Governor Snyder. He was also the first Asian American to lead the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce as chairperson and the first to head up an agency of the Christian Reformed Church, the Office of Race Relations. Mr. Goei has also been a leader in the West Michigan Asian American Association.

This program is graciously supported by:

The Meijer Foundation
Bank of America
Eastern Floral
Special thanks to Grand Rapids Community College for technical support.

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