Edgar M. Bronfman was President of the World Jewish Congress from 1979-2007. He was also the President of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which is devoted to ensuring the return of communal Jewish property after it was stolen first by the Nazis and then by the communists in Eastern Europe, and property in Western Europe also stolen by the Nazis and unaccounted for. The WJRO is involved with seeing justice done in the case of the Swiss banks and other institutions throughout Europe that were depositories of Jewish wealth during the 1939-1945 period and whose owners perished in the Holocaust. He is Founding Chairman of the International Board of Governors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, a world-wide organization uniting Jewish students on college and university campuses. In addition to his roles in the World Jewish Congress and Hillel, Mr. Bronfman’s philanthropic and civic activities include serving as Chairman of both The Samuel Bronfman Foundation and the United States Commission on Holocaust Era Assets.
Mr. Bronfman attended Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada; Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts; and was graduated with a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in 1951.
In 1999, President Clinton awarded Mr. Bronfman the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor. That same year, Mr. Bronfman received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Rochester. In 1997, he received from New York University an honorary degree of Doctor of Commercial Science and, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an Honorary Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa. In 1995, the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University conferred upon Mr. Bronfman an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. In 1986, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Williams College and was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by the government of France, as well as the Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award of the 85th National Convention of the Zionist Organization of America. In 1982, Mr. Bronfman was also awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by Pace University in New York City.
Born on June 20, 1929, in Montreal, Canada, to the late Saidye (Rosner) Bronfman and the late Samuel Bronfman, Mr. Bronfman became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1959.