NEW YORK – French President Emmanuel Macron today named WJC President Ronald S. Lauder a commander of the Legion of Honor for his service to the world’s communities and the broad vision of peace and culture that he embodies.
“I thank President Macron and the nation of France for this award, one of the highest honors to which anyone can aspire,” said Amb. Lauder. “France is the cradle of the values of enlightenment, egalitarianism and tolerance that I fight for today, and I cherish this award as a symbol of my ongoing commitment to those ideals.”
In presenting the honor, President Macron cited Lauder’s deep commitment to fighting all forms of hatred and discrimination as well his investment in the education of future generations.
As president of the World Jewish Congress since 2007, Amb. Lauder has passionately advocated on behalf of more than 100 Jewish communities before governments, the United Nations and other international bodies. He has also served as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO affairs, as U.S. ambassador to Austria, and has worked to revitalize Jewish life across Europe.
Established by Napoleon Bonaparte to replace the hierarchy of the French nobility with a more merit-based system, the Legion of Honor is France’s highest order of distinction. It now consists of five rankings.
In 2013, former President François Hollande made Amb. Lauder an officer of the Legion of Honor. Commander is the highest civilian category for a non-French citizen; it requires a minimum of five years in the officer rank.
Other recipients include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel; Samuel Pisar, an international lawyer and the stepfather of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken; Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld; European Parliament President Simone Veil; and artist Marc Chagall.
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