Annenberg Retreat, a Gift to the Nation, to be Dedicated February 12

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, which will be dedicated on Sunday, February 12, 2012, is the most recent gift to the nation from Walter and Leonore Annenberg. The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands will present and host a variety of high-level conferences, retreats, and seminars on issues of national and international importance. Working with national and international leaders from a range of fields including government, philanthropy, education, and the arts, staff will develop programs designed to have an impact on society. Geoffrey Cowan, then-president of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, says, “We have an opportunity to use one of the world’s most spectacular venues to make an impact on a range of important issues.”

Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg directed that their 200-acre estate in Rancho Mirage, California forever be used to advance world peace and facilitate international agreement by continuing their traditional of convening powerful global figures for private retreats to discuss ways in which problems could be resolved, difficulties overcome, and solutions reached. It was also their desire that the public should have access to Sunnylands to learn about its unique place in history.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on February 11 in a videotaped statement, “Our nation will inherit Sunnylands as a place where global leaders can gather, shielded from the noise of the rest of the world, and work towards building better governments, stronger institutions, and a more peaceful world.”

Whenever possible, information on retreats will be made available to the public including the publishing of occasional white papers. One such retreat is “Envisioning the Future of the United States-Mexico Relationship” scheduled for March 2012. In 2012, both Mexico and the United States will hold presidential elections, an event that occurs once every 12 years. Taking advantage of this natural opportunity for progress in the U.S.-Mexico relationship, Sunnylands is convening a group of 22 top opinion leaders and policymakers from both countries to craft an agenda for bilateral relations. Following the retreat, participants will continue to work with The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars to transform the ideas generated at the event into a concrete strategic plan able to garner broad support across party lines.

The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands – basic information

Sunnylands was the home of Walter and Leonore Annenberg.

Entrepreneurs, ambassadors, and philanthropists, the Annenbergs were devoted to the American ideals of service. This commitment led them to place their estate in public trust. The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands oversees the historic estate as well as Sunnylands Center & Gardens. Operating as The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, the home once again welcomes United States presidents, government officials, and world leaders to participate in high-level retreats on national and international issues.
Sunnylands Center & Gardens features information, tours, and programs on the Annenbergs, their role in American history, the architecture of the historic house, and their art collection. Films, exhibitions, and interactive media stations detail the events of the time and the Annenberg role in them. The unique gardens are home to a variety of arid landscape plants and wildlife. Tours of the historic Midcentury Modern residence, designed by A. Quincy Jones, leave from the Center.

Guided tours of the historic estate and A. Quincy Jones-designed residence are $35 per person. Reservations can be made on the first and fifteenth of each month at Visits to Sunnylands Center & Gardens are free. Sunnylands Center & Gardens can be visited September 1 – May 31, Thursday through Sunday, 9 am – 4 pm; June 1 – July 31, Thursday through Sunday, 7 am – 2 pm; closed in August. Guests are reminded to the view visitation guidelines on the web site. Children under the age of ten are not allowed on estate and home tours but are welcome at the Center & Gardens.

The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, which operates The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating entity established by the Annenberg Foundation to hold high level retreats that address serious issues facing the nation and the world community and to educate the public on the historical significance of Sunnylands. More information, including ticket purchase, may be found online at

The dedication program, which featured Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court, can be seen in its entirety here.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy speaks at the Sunnylands Dedication Ceremony from Annenberg Retreat @ Sunnylands on Vimeo.