Skip to main content

Sirico Parables book

Join us for the Acton Institute’s 2022 Annual Dinner on Wednesday, October 19, at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The dinner celebrates our 32nd year of working to promote a free and virtuous society and will highlight Acton’s documentary THE HONG KONGER: JIMMY LAI’S EXTRAORDINARY FIGHT FOR FREEDOM.

We are delighted to welcome this year’s keynote speaker, Mary Kissel—former senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2018–21) and former Wall Street Journal Asia opinion editor. Kissel is featured in THE HONG KONGER as she illustrates her interactions with Jimmy Lai and the continuing attack on freedom by the Chinese Communist Party.

There will also be special addresses from Acton’s president and co-founder, Kris A. Mauren, and President Emeritus Rev. Robert A. Sirico.

Mary Kissel
Mary Kissel
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Former Senior Adviser

Mary Kissel is executive vice president and senior policy adviser at Stephens Inc., a Little Rock, Arkansas–based, privately held financial services firm, where she advises management and clients on foreign policy and geopolitical risk. Prior to joining Stephens, she served as senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo from October 2018 to January 2021. In that role, she provided advice to advance the national interests of the United States, conducted special projects for the secretary, and traveled to more than 60 countries.

Kissel also appears in Acton's newest documentary, The Hong Konger: Jimmy Lai's Extraordinary Fight for Freedom.

Prior to her State Department appointment, Ms. Kissel was a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, where she served as chief foreign policy writer and host of the Foreign Edition podcast, and as editorial page editor for Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong. She has appeared on major television and radio networks and podcasts around the world, including Australian Broadcasting Corp., CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC, and Sky News. In addition to her WSJ work, her writing has been published in The Spectator and the Far Eastern Economic Review. She started her career in the fixed-income division of Goldman Sachs in New York and London.

Ms. Kissel is currently a member of the board of directors of XPO Logistics Inc. and serves as an advisory board member of the Center for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue and the Marathon Initiative in Washington, D.C. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and host of the Nixon Seminar on Conservative Realism and National Security. Ms. Kissel is a graduate of Harvard College and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Kris Alan Mauren
Kris Alan Mauren
Acton Institute

President & Co-founder

Kris Mauren is co-founder and president of Acton Institute, an international educational and public policy organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan with international offices in Rome, Italy and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Institute publishes scholarship and film and organizes educational seminars around the world for current and future religious leaders across denominations promoting an understanding of the ethical dimensions of the free market economy.  The Institute also works with business leaders, helping them to embrace their work as a worthy calling and to encourage their positive moral defense of a free society characterized by individual liberty and personal moral responsibility.  Since its inception in 1990, The Acton Institute has experienced tremendous growth and today employs more than 50 people with an annual budget of $12,000,000.

Kris is a Seattle native and the youngest of 8 children.  After graduating with an economics and international relations degree from Johns Hopkins University, Kris settled in Grand Rapids to help found Acton Institute.  In his role as executive director, Kris has traveled the world, lecturing and consulting in dozens of countries.  He is widely recognized as a leader in non-profit management and consults regularly on best practices in governance, management, measurement and evaluation, and fundraising in the not for profit sector.  In 2010 he was presented with the Charles G. Koch Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Institute for Humane Studies, and was the 1999 recipient of the Liberty Executive Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Management.  Kris serves as a director or as an advisory board member for a number of institutions, including Donors Capital Fund, Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), John Templeton FoundationTempleton World Charity Foundation, and Templeton Religion Trust and Excel Charter Academy.  Kris is active in a number of community organizations including the Economics Club of Grand Rapids, Rotary International, and The Philadelphia Society.

Rev. Robert A. Sirico
Rev. Robert A. Sirico
Acton Institute

President Emeritus

Rev. Robert A. Sirico is president emeritus and the co-founder of the Acton Institute. In that capacity, he lectures at colleges, universities, and business organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad.

His writings on religious, political, economic, and social matters are published in a variety of journals, including: the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalForbes, the London Financial Times, the Washington Times, the Detroit News, and National Review. Fr. Sirico is often called upon by members of the broadcast media for statements regarding economics, civil rights, and issues of religious concern, and has provided commentary for CNNABC, the BBCNPR, and CBS' 60 Minutes, among others.

Fr. Sirico received his Master of Divinity degree from the Catholic University of America following undergraduate study at the University of Southern California and the University of London. During his studies and early ministry, he experienced a growing concern over the lack of training religious studies students receive in fundamental economic principles, leaving them poorly equipped to understand and address today's social problems. As a result of these concerns, Fr. Sirico co-founded the Acton Institute with Kris Alan Mauren in 1990.

In April of 1999, Fr. Sirico was awarded an honorary doctorate in Christian Ethics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and in May of 2001, Universidad Francisco Marroquin awarded him an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences. He is a member of the prestigious Mont Pèlerin Society, the American Academy of Religion, and the Philadelphia Society, and is on the Board of Advisors of the Civic Institute in Prague. Father Sirico also served on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from 1994 to 1998. His pastoral ministry has included a chaplaincy to AIDS patients at the National Institutes of Health. He is the Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Father Sirico holds dual Italian and American citizenship.

Event Details

Start Date

End Date


Amway Grand Plaza
187 Monroe Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
United States


Registration and Receptions: 6:00 p.m.

Program and Dinner: 7:00 p.m.

Post-Dinner Reception will immediately follow the conclusion of the evening’s formal program.


Lord Acton Circle Sponsor at $7,500 includes:

  • VIP seating for you and your table of guests. 10 total seats included.
  • Recognition of you or your company in our program, Acton's website, marketing and at the event.]
  • Two tickets to a private, pre-dinner cocktail reception with dinner speaker Mary Kissel.
  • Invitation to receptions before and after the dinner for your guests. 

Liberty Circle Sponsor at $3,500 includes:

  • Premier seating for you and your table of guests. 10 total seats included.
  • Recognition of you or your company in our program, Acton's website, marketing and at the event.
  • Invitation to receptions before and after the dinner for you and your guests.

Individual Dinner at $175 includes:

  • Invitation to receptions before and after the dinner.

Dress code is black-tie preferred.


Hotel Information

We have secured a limited number of rooms at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel for the evening at the rate of $179.00/night. The rooms are first come, first served, so please book early. Reservations must be made on or before the cut-off date of September 19, 2022.

To book a room, please visit or call 1-800-253-3590.