The second annual William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership will be presented at an event on April 24, 2014, on the American University campus in Washington, D.C. The event will honor award winners Daniel C. Esty, former Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Executive Director of the Children's Environmental Health Network, for their contributions to innovations in environmental policy. At the event Senator Bob Graham will deliver a keynote address, Bill Reilly will provide remarks and graduate students from the School of Public Affairs will be awarded scholarships.
Daniel Esty is the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University and serves as the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Business and Environment at Yale. From March 2011 through January 2014, Mr. Esty took a leave of absence from Yale to serve as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Before joining Yale, Daniel Esty was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and held senior positions in the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2002, Mr. Esty received the American Bar Association Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy for “pioneering a data-driven approach to environmental decision-making” and developing the global Environmental Sustainability Index.
Nse Obot Witherspoon serves as Executive Director for the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN). Her leadership has been integral to directing and organizing the CEHN’s strategic plan to serve as the “Voice for Children’s Environmental Health” in Washington, D.C., for over the past decade. Ms. Witherspoon’s dedication to children’s environmental health made her a key leader within the field. She also serves as a member of the Friends of Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, a strategy advisor for the California Breast Cancer Prevention Initiatives, and a board member for the Pesticide Action Network of North America.
Senator Bob Graham is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years in the United States Senate. This is combined with 12 years in the Florida legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. Bob Graham retired from public service in January 2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.
Bob Graham is recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from education, economic development, healthcare, environmental preservation and his service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — including eighteen months as chairman in 2001–2002.
After retiring from public life, Senator Graham served for a year as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In recent years, Senator Graham was appointed by the President to Co-Chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. This followed his service as a Commissioner on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, as Chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism and his service as a member of the CIA External Advisory Board.
Currently he is co-chairman of Oil Spill Commission Action project which continues to provide oversight of the BP Deepwater Horizon Commission, and is the chair of the Board of Overseers of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University Florida.
Graham was a founder of the Florida Conservation Coalition, an organization to promote effective and sustained land and water management policies Florida.
Senator Graham is also the author of several books including America: The Owner’s Manual, which teaches the skills of civic participation, Intelligence Matters, about 9/11 and the run up to the Iraq War from the perspective of the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Keys to the Kingdom, a novel of suspense which draws upon his background in government and intelligence.