The Ilchman‐Richardson Award, instituted in 2007, recognizes a domestic employee of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), of the U.S. State Department, who has made significant contributions in the management of American cultural diplomacy, while leading and mentoring others. The award is named in appreciation of two former ECA Assistant Secretaries. After her tenure at ECA, Alice Ilchman, formerly Dean of Wellesley College, became the Associate Director of USICA and USIA (1979‐81) and then the President of Sarah Lawrence College, before becoming chair of the board of the Rockefeller Foundation; until her death in 2006, she directed the Jeanette Watson Fellowships. John Richardson, after years in corporate law, investment banking and Radio Free Europe, became Assistant Secretary for State/ECA (1968‐77); he then headed Youth For Understanding and chaired the boards of the U.S. Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Institute of Peace.
This year’s Ilchman‐Richardson Award went to Yolanda Robinson. In over ten years of service as ECA’s Deputy Director and Director of Budget and Finance, Yolanda has ensured that the Department of State accomplishes its cultural diplomacy mission in the most cost-effective manner. With her all-encompassing knowledge of the Bureau’s operations, Yolanda informs important financial decisions that ensure the long-term success of ECA’s cultural and educational programs. Beyond her immense technical knowledge, she has the ability to translate policy and finances into genuine people-to-people connections. Serving as a leader and mentor to her colleagues, is what truly sets Yolanda apart and makes her indispensable to the Bureau and its mission.
For a complete list of recipients of this award, please consult Ilchman-Richardson Award Recipients.