2004 Twin Cities International Citizen Awards


The 2004 Twin Cities International Citizen Awards (TCICA) was held to honor Sally and George Pillsbury, Jacqueline Regis and Northwest Airlines at the Minneapolis Club on April 20. The TCICA honors leaders in the community who build relationships between the Twin Cities and the rest of the world.

Community leaders in fields such as business, technology, education, medicine, or the arts have been honored since 1992 with the Twin Cities International Citizen Awards. Presented by the International Leadership Institute, a Minneapolis nonprofit dedicated to strengthening ties between Minnesota and other countries, this year's awards were sponsored in conjunction with the Twin Cities Business Monthly magazine.

The 2004 honorees that bring the world closer to Minnesota were: International Citizen Award - George and Sally Pillsbury. George is fascinated with fixing "the system", repairing the imbalances and wastes that are built into government at all levels.

Born into the famous Minnesota Pillsbury family, George and Sally were privileged with an early look at the world beyond this state, and they are optimistic, big-picture people. Africa is special area of interest. When George took over as The Pillsbury Company's first export chief in 1948, it was already selling flour on the West Coast of Africa. George, accompanied by Sally, was the first Pillsbury executive to call on customers in Africa personally; establishing a new model that would help grow the company's international business.

Sally's passion is getting people involved in mending a fractured world. She has brought hundreds of donors and participants to favorite projects such as Shared Interest, a microfinance organization making small loans to help people get started in business or farming in developing economies, and the Southern African Development Community, a private-public network that encourages sustainable economies growth in that part of the world.

Immigrant Award - M. Jacqueline Regis. Jacqueline began her life in Cayes Haiti, on the south coast of the country. Today she is an assistant vice president and senior corporate counsel for The St. Paul Companies. Jacqueline, who emigrated from Haiti at the age of 17, recalls the misery inflicted on Haiti during the Papa Doc Duvalier regime, which cost her brother, his life at the hands of the country's military thugs, the Tontons
Macoutes. There was another reason to mourn in Haiti. Every year, thousands of Haitian children, many as young as five are given over to middle class families to be house servants. These children are called restavecs - meaning (French), they "stay with another family than their own. It is a measure of the country's poverty that families must place one child in a form of slavery to feed the others. An estimated 250.000 children under the
age of 15 now live under this cruel system. The practice has haunted her over the years and she has worked hard to inform Americans of the problems in Haiti, and to provide counsel and assistance to her country. Jacqueline shines the spotlight on human rights issues in the Caribbean at every opportunity. She says it is more than rooting out the practice with economics, it is to create an upheaval in the way people think.

Corporate International Award - Northwest Airlines. 12 years ago Northwest Airlines created AirCares, combining the concepts of frequent-flyer miles and corporate philanthropy. The program takes a dormant resource, empty plane seats and convert them into an active resource that passengers can donate to selected nonprofits. Since 1992 more than 201 million World Perks miles have been donated to a long list of international that includes Habitat for Humanity International Make-A-Wish Foundation International,
UNICEF, Operation Smile, Oxfam America, and the International Special Olympics. NWA AirCares has also provided relief flights for soldiers overseas, or for overseas aid workers. Since 1999, the airline has focused its publicity on a single program, its own KidCares project, which funnels miles to children with serious medical problems who can't afford to travel on their own. Northwest Airlines continues to distribute miles to other charities on an international basis.

Event sponsors include Twin Cities Business Monthly, Fredrikson & Byron, Thomas Auto Mall, Land O' Lakes International Development Division, Medtronic, Inc., Blackwell & Igbanugo, and Faegre and Benson.

© International Leadership Institute