The purpose of Harry’s visit was to accept a humanitarian award from the Atlantic Council for his work with wounded service members. The Atlantic Council is one of those terribly important Washington think tanks, busy promoting U.S. and European leadership on international issues and holding galas to recognize distinction in the field. This being Washington, where you can’t so much as swipe your Metro card without bumping into somebody’s undersecretary, it’s easy to play hooky from events like this; they happen all the time.
However, the Atlantic Council has been growing in visibility — it had U2’s Bono two years ago and Vice President Biden last year — and Harry is something of a get. It is an honor to be able to honor him.The Atlantic Council's Annual Awards Dinner seems to be increasing in star-power every year. You can watch a video of the the 2012 awards dinner here.
Adding to the star-power were hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC. Mika's father, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is a member of the Atlantic Council International Advisory Board. He is also a counselor and trustee and co-chair of the advisory board at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Zbigniew, along with Mika and her brother Mark Brzezinski (the current US Ambassador to Sweden) are all members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Ian Brzezinski, another of Mika's brothers, is a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Atlantic Council and is on the Council's Strategic Advisory Group (SAG). [He is also on the Board of Directors at Project 2049 Institute.]
More details about this year's awards dinner, which took place at the Washington Ritz-Carlton, and past year's dinners can be found here.
The Daily Beast describes Atlantic Council's gala dinner as the "Met Ball for ugly people." The Met Ball, also known as the Costume Institute Gala or the "Oscars of the East Coast," is an annual ball to celebrate the annual opening of the Metropolitan Museum's fashion exhibit at the Costume Institute.
ACUS is considered the #15 best think tank in the US, based on the latest University of Pennsylvania ratings.