Under President George W. Bush, Powell was appointed the 65th secretary of state. As secretary of state, he led the State Department in major efforts to address and solve regional and civil conflicts in the Middle East, Sudan, Congo, Liberia, the Balkans, Cyprus, Haiti, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In all of these arenas, he used the power of diplomacy to build trust and forge alliances to help transform these unstable regions into areas where societies have the potential to prosper. He also worked at the forefront of American efforts to advance economic and social development worldwide.
Among the many U.S. military awards and decorations that Powell has received are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart. His civil awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. In addition, he has received awards from more than two dozen countries that include a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
Powell is the Founder of the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service, which was established at his alma mater, CCNY. The center’s mission is to develop a new generation of publicly engaged leaders. He is also the founder and chair emeritus of the America’s Promise Alliance.
Currently, Powell is a strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and is on the board of Bloom Energy. He is the chairman of the advisory board of Leeds Equity Partners and chair of the Eisenhower Fellowships, a cross-cultural program for emerging international leaders. Powell is a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a member of the executive leadership cabinet of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial and is the honorary chair of the education center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He also serves on the board of the Smithsonian Institution’s African American Museum of History and Culture. He has previously served as a member of the board of trustees of Howard University, the board of directors of the United Negro College Fund, and the board of governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Powell’s autobiography, My American Journey, was a best seller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Powell’s second book, It Worked For Me, was a New York Times best seller.
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