Alumnus/a of the Year Award

Since 1998, the SIS Alumni of the Year award has recognized an SIS alumnus/a (graduate or undergraduate) who exemplifies the ideals and values of the School - a change agent serving the community and helping to make the world a better place, whether working in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. SIS invites alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to nominate alumni who fit the criteria. The award is traditionally announced and conferred every April at an embassy dinner in Washington, D.C.

Current Alumnus/a of the Year Award Recipients

Dawn Miller, SIS/BA '93
President and CEO, AXA Insurance Company, US

Dawn Miller is President and Chief Executive Officer of AXA Insurance Company, AXA's US Commercial Insurance business, as well as the global lead for AXA's Women as Entrepreneurs initiative. Prior to joining AXA, Miller worked as the Head of Client Engagement for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at American International Group. She was named a Young Leader of Tomorrow by the International Insurance Society in 2015 Miller was recently included in a list of six SIS women who paved the way for this generation, which highlighted her success as a woman in her field.

"My years at American University's School of International Studies served as a gateway to all the opportunities that Washington has to offer: internships, urban living, and the ability to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives," says Miller. "These experiences gave me the foundation to explore and develop the skill set for a global career, including pushing forward AXA's main goals of building sustainable economies, resilient communities, and healthy populations."

Ettore Leale, SIS/BA '91
Managing Partner, Xplorer Capital

Ettore Leale is a business builder, investor, and advisor in the technology industry who has grown companies from inception to global scale. Focused on the internet since 1997, Leale's sector experience includes digital media, digital advertising, software, and online education. Earlier in his career, Leale served for the Red Cross where he structured and implemented mass feeding programs for the besieged and refugee populations of the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. After graduating from SIS in 1991, Leale earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997.

"SIS transformed my understanding of the world. I was lucky to participate in a study abroad program in Berlin in 1990 at the time of the German re-unification, and in Buenos Aires in 1989 at the time of 4,000% hyperinflation," says Leale. "SIS also led to my first job with the Red Cross and the wars in Yugoslavia. As I reflect on the 60th anniversary of the school, I cannot think of a more important time for educating thoughtful leaders who make a positive difference in the world. I am impressed by the growth and the impact of the school, and I am thrilled to reconnect with the SIS community."

  • 2017: Kayla Williams, SIS/MA '08 & Davina Durgana, SIS/PhD '15
  • 2015: Mehdi Heravi, SIS/PhD '67
  • 2014: Chad Bissonnette, SIS/BA '05
  • 2013: Lisa Martilotta, SIS/MA '03
  • 2012: John Prendergast, SIS/MA 90
  • 2011: Ambassador Clyde Taylor, SIS/MIS '61
  • 2010: Fruzsina Harsanyi, SIS/BA '64, SIS/MA '67, SPA/PhD '72
  • 2009: Esther Benjamin, SIS/MA '92
  • 2008: Alan H. Fleischmann, SIS/BA/BS '87
  • 2007: Sherry Mueller, SIS/BA '65

Class of 1967 Prize

Established in 2009 by members of the SIS undergraduate class of 1967, the Class of 1967 Prize is awarded in memory of deceased classmates. The prize, awarded annually, honors an SIS international undergraduate student who exemplifies the ideals of the school.

To contribute to the fund, give online or make checks out to “American University” with “Class of 1967” in the memo section and mail in.

Current Class of 1967 Prize Recipient

Yangqiansu "Chelsey" Cao, SIS/BA '18

Chelsey is a senior international student from China who focuses her studies on international development and the region of Africa. She is an AU scholar, a member of Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society, has been maintaining excellent academic records and has completed five internships during her time in DC so far. Because Chelsey has benefited so much from her international education experience in SIS, she hopes that international education can be more accessible to students from around the world, especially students with disabilities. The SIS Class of 1967 Prize will help her in carrying out projects on raising awareness for international students with disabilities on campus.

  • Anthony Than Htut Aung, SIS/BA '16
  • Roshni Rajan, SIS/BA '16
  • Iris Wu, SIS/BA '15
  • Fu Hamabe, SIS/BA '14
  • Olga Otrokhova, SIS/BA '13
  • Maria Beihof, SIS/BA '12
  • Livia Mueller, SIS/BA '11
  • Stephanie Ayeh, SIS/BA '10