2018 CKW LUXE STAR AWARDS
Lifetime North Star Award
The Honorable Joanne King Herring: The Dame, Knight, Ambassador, and Consul General of Pakistan and Morocco
CKW LUXE is proud to announce that The Honorable Joanne King Herring is our Lifetime North Star Award honoree. This award goes to a philanthropic woman who has been a sincere leader, mentor, and teacher to others and has made a significant impact on the local and global communities through her intelligence, wisdom, and guidance.
“Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.” “Do your best, that’s all the angels can do.” – Joanne King Herring
The Honorable Joanne King Herring is one of Houston’s most famous and influential citizens. Throughout her storied life she has donned numerous hats, including that of businesswoman, talk show host, political activist, philanthropist, Consul General of both Pakistan and Morocco, and roaming Ambassador of Pakistan.
A Houston native, Joanne attended the University of Texas at Austin. In the late 1950s, she began a close relationship with the viewing public as host of the daytime talk show, The Joanne King Show. It continued for fifteen years and was the sixth highest rated daytime show in America.
It was through her husband Robert Herring’s dealings in the Middle East that Joanne became interested in the area. By the late 1970s, she was honorary consul for Pakistan and for Morocco. She was also acting as advisor to the president of Pakistan and the king of Morocco. At the same time, she was redoing the cottage industry of Pakistan by helping poor villagers redesign their unique handmade rugs, fabrics, and copper and silver goods to appeal to a Western market. It was Joanne’s fondness for the region that led her to attempt to protect it in a much more monumental way and succeed.
In 1979, when the Soviet’s invaded Afghanistan, and no one else was paying attention, Joanne, with Robin King, made the film that exposed the truth. King showed it to over 500,000 people worldwide. With characteristic tenacity, Joanne presented the film to every politician in Washington who would take the time to watch it, including the United States Representative from Texas’s 2nd congressional district at the time, Charlie Wilson. As a result, Wilson led Congress into supporting a CIA covert operation to support the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviets. Joanne convinced the Saudi’s to match CIA money and cleared the way through Pakistan to deliver the arms to the landlocked country. In 1989, the Russian fighters withdrew.
The former Afghan president, Pervez Musharraf, said this of Joanne: “I know Joanne Herring to be a most dynamic and inspiring personality. Her deep commitment to alleviate and assuage the sufferings of the people of our region has touched me immensely. Her unique contribution to the Afghan freedom struggle in the 1980s turned the tide of the conflict.”
The remarkable story was turned into a non-fiction book called Charlie Wilson’s War, by George Crile, and a movie of the same name starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Roberts played the role of Joanne King Herring. Joanne herself wrote a best-selling book about the experience called Diamonds and Diplomats: My Wars from the Ballroom to the Battlefield. It was published in 2011 and made five best-seller lists.
Joanne has been recognized as a vital force for humanitarian causes for many decades. Her part in assisting the Afghan Freedom Fighters against the Soviets is now recognized as the proximate cause of the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. It was accomplished without spilling a drop of American blood. For this, Joanne was nominated for the Congressional
Gold Medal. She has also received medals and honors from the President of Pakistan, The Afghan Defense Ministry, Nepal’s Chief of Army, the Navy SEALs, and The American Legion. It is no surprise that Joanne was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Other honors include being made Dame by the Order of St. Francis and being knighted by the King of Belgium. Joanne is also the recipient of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Award, the Development in Literacy Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2012 Consular Corp Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2013 Southern Heritage Lifetime Award, and the Afghan Army Award.
People Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, Debrett’s Distinguished People of Today, and Who’s Who have all named Joanne Queen of Texas. Forbes named her The Only Woman in History to Win a War.
In 2009, Joanne founded Marshall Plan Charities, a Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring Afghanistan one village at a time. The approach is holistic, building villages with five key elements: clean water, food, health care, schools, and jobs. Its belief is that if the country can be helped to help itself, it will no longer be a breeding ground for terrorists, and its people will be able to fight their own wars without the help of American soldiers and the loss of American lives.
Joanne also works tirelessly on projects to benefit Navy SEALs, foster children, and disabled veterans, as well as those devoted to ending human trafficking and the resocialization of members of teenage gangs. To do that, her emphasis is on developing job training and apprenticeship programs, allowing people to develop lucrative vocations that will put them on a fast track. The goal is to lift America’s inner cities into the middle-class by training them in senior high school to actually get a job upon graduation. They must have salable vocational skills to do this, but hundreds of jobs are open to the qualified, and employers are hungry to hire them. Everything Joanne does is based on preparing people to acquire the skills and tools they need to help themselves.
CKW LUXE would like to congratulate The Honorable Joanne King Herring for being the North Star Award honoree. As the embodiment of the award, Joanne, especially during a time when young women from Texas, or anywhere else, didn’t get involved in such things, used her intelligence and powers of observation to encourage government action against something she understood to be an international threat. Joanne continues to find ways to help people pull themselves out of difficult situations to live fulfilling meaningful lives in other parts of the world as well as right here at home.