This really happened. The Smithsonian Institute recently awarded Sesame Workshop a 2017 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award. It was given in the category of Social Impact for our work in bringing to life Julia, the new Sesame Street friend with autism. Together with Sherrie Westin, the executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy, and Chrissy Ferraro, the writer of the script that introduced Julia to the television audience, I traveled to Washington D.C. for the festivities.
What an incredible experience! The night was shared by honorees such as John Legend. Jony Ive, and Ava Duvernay, as well as people whose names you might not know—but whose achievements are spectacular, from discovering new planets in the Milky Way galaxy to using stem cells to reverse the effects of a stroke. [And I haven’t even mentioned the illustrious award presenters, such as Quincy Jones, for starters.] The whole event, for me especially, came at the perfect time, being a much-needed injection of optimism. That these impressive and yet modest people exist and are going to such lengths to make the world better for everyone gave me a great deal of hope—for at least a few days!
You can read more about my part here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/ingenuity/ceremonies/2017-winners/