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Secretary Henry Kissinger and Senator Dianne Feinstein Presented with 2021 George H. W. Bush Awards for Achievements in U.S.-China Relations


June 10, 2021

In recognition of their enduring contributions to the advancement of U.S.-China relations, the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations today announced former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein as the two 2021 recipients of George H. W. Bush awards for achievements in U.S.-China relations.  

Secretary Henry Kissinger receives the George H. W. Bush Award for Statesmanship in U.S.-China Relations. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Secretary Kissinger’s 1971 secret trip to China, which paved the way for President Nixon’s historic visit of 1972 and a new chapter in U.S.-China engagement. The Statesmanship Award recognizes Sec. Kissinger’s decades of major contributions to the development and advancement of U.S.-China relations. 

Senator Dianne Feinstein receives the George H. W. Bush Award for Lifetime Legislative Achievements in U.S.-China Relations. A lifelong advocate for a robust and mutually beneficial U.S.-China relationship, including during her tenure as mayor of San Francisco, Senator Feinstein, over the course of her nearly thirty years in key United States Senate leadership capacities, has played a prominent role in shaping a vast body of U.S. legislation relating to China. 

“The relationship between the United States and China is essential to peace and progress in our world,” said Secretary Henry Kissinger. “I have had the honor to work on the diplomacy of this task on behalf of the United States since relations were reestablished through all of its ups and downs. It is a non-partisan national task. I am honored to receive this award from the Bush China Foundation— an organization named for and dedicated to the vision of a man and a leader who did so much to foster understanding between the two societies.” 

“I’m grateful to accept this award from the Bush China Foundation. There’s no question the relationship between China and the United States is important for both nations. We have the largest economies and the most powerful militaries, and having a stable, cooperative relationship is critical,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein. “San Francisco and Shanghai became sister cities more than 40 years ago, when I was mayor, and the exchanges between the two continue today. We need more people-to-people contact to show how our nations can get along, and I look forward to continue working toward that goal.” 

“Secretary Kissinger and Senator Feinstein both embody the fundamental approach to the U.S.-China relationship of George H. W. Bush,” said Bush China Foundation Founder and Chairman Neil Bush. “Like my father was, they have long been powerful and effective advocates for the idea that America’s vital interests are best served by a U.S.-China relationship that is functional, constructive, results-oriented, mutually beneficial and politically sustainable.  We are proud to honor the extensive contributions of these two great American public servants to the U.S.-China relationship.” 

“Secretary Kissinger’s and Senator Feinstein’s tremendous respective contributions over many years to the development of U.S.-China relations highlight the longstanding bipartisan consensus, embraced by U.S. presidents from Nixon to Obama, that has long existed in the United States about the critical importance to our nation of a strong and healthy U.S.-China relationship,” said Bush China Foundation President and CEO David Firestein.  “Notwithstanding the profound challenges confronting the relationship today, Secretary Kissinger and Senator Feinstein understand what President George H. W. Bush understood to his core:  that the destinies of our nations and peoples are inextricably intertwined and that we have to get this relationship right.”