The 2014 winners of the Washburne Award

Elihu Benjamin Washburne
Elihu Benjamin Washburne

In 2014, for the third year in a row, The Washburne Award  for Innovation in Diversity honored a French firm and to an American firm operating in France.

Congratulations to FedEx and Colas S.A., the 2014 winners of the Washburne Award !

The Washburne Award for Innovation in Diversity

2011 – The Embassy of the United States, in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce and the French American Foundation – France, creates the Washburne Prize for Innovation in Diversity

2012 – Casino Group and KPMG Foundation – France are chosen as inaugural laureates

2013 – Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) and Coca-Cola Enterprises are honored February

February 2014 – Call for applications for the 2014 Washburne Prize for Innovation in Diversity (deadline April 30, 2014)

June 2014 – The third annual Washburne Prize is awarded to a French company and to an American company operating in France for their innovative efforts to encourage diversity

About the Washburne Award

A longtime friend and supporter of Presidents Lincoln and Grant, Elihu Benjamin Washburne was a leading 19th century proponent of racial equality in the U.S. As a Congressman, he served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which drafted the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, guaranteeing voting rights, due process and equal protection under the law to U.S. citizens. He later served as U.S. Secretary of State and, from 1869-1877, U.S. Minister to France. As a diplomatic envoy, Washburne played a courageous role during the Franco-German War, the siege of Paris and the Commune.

Purpose of the Award

  • To advance shared Franco-American goals that promote diversity and that reflect our longstanding commitment to developing economic opportunity for all citizens;
  • To honor French and American companies which develop innovative programs that promote diversity in the workplace by publicly recognizing private sector organizations that excel in the recruitment, training, and mentoring of employees from diverse backgrounds.  This includes programs that prepare/empower individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the mainstream economy;
  • To promote employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth in France by encouraging companies to identify and develop young talent from diverse backgrounds;
  • To encourage entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas by expanding the capacity of French and American companies to recruit talented individuals;
  • To increase Franco-American exchanges of information and ideas regarding diversity, training, and recruitment of disadvantaged youth, as well as job creation.

Two awards will be granted for this program, the first for an American firm operating in France and the second for a French firm, for their exceptional contributions in this field.

Contact and information at

People are talking about the Washburne Prize:

  • “ The American Embassy in Paris continuing in the spirit of Lincoln…” Blog BFM TV
  • “Twenty-two companies vied for this unprecedented prize.”  Les Echos
  • « Washburne Prize : diversity rewarded »  Bondy Blog
  • “An honorary distinction for those companies that are really committed to diversity and equal opportunity.”
  • “The glimmer of hope today is those companies working towards greater diversity.”  Lilian Thuram, 2012 award ceremony