New York, NY, May 1, 2012 … In recognition of his long career in public service and his outspoken advocacy for human rights and the welfare of the Jewish people, especially Holocaust victims, Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat was honored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with its inaugural Abraham H. Foxman Exceptional Leadership Award during the League's 2012 Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.
"It is fitting that we pay tribute to Ambassador Eizenstat, whose life and career tell a remarkable story of advocacy for civil and human rights and for the welfare of the Jewish people, especially in fighting for Holocaust victims, at a gathering that celebrates young leadership, engagement and optimism," said Ronald D. Balser, ADL National Commissioner, in presenting the award to Ambassador Eizenstat, his lifelong friend.
"At ADL, we know Ambassador Eizenstat as the man who gets things done, even in the face of insurmountable obstacles," said Mr. Balser. "He has an unflappable demeanor, and the creativity and determination to find solutions that do not compromise principles. His leadership shows that activism on behalf of the Jewish community and public service are not mutually exclusive."
"Of the awards I have been privileged to receive, none has greater meaning than this one. There are three reasons: the persons who endowed the award and are presenting it; the organization extending it; and the person for whom the award is named," said Ambassador Eizenstat after receiving the ADL Abraham H. Foxman Exceptional Leadership Award. "It was ADL which courageously took on the purveyors of anti-Semitism and hatred, however powerful; and it was ADL which helped turn the tide against anti-Semitism in the U.S. ADL has continued to this day to be a leading voice speaking out against any form of discrimination, based upon religion, race, color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, said during the award presentation that none of Ambassador Eizenstat's successes have "meant more than his indefatigable efforts to get relief for Holocaust victims. No one else could have done what he did and continues to do to be sure those who gave so much and suffered so horribly receive their appropriate due."
As Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State on Holocaust-Era Issues during the Clinton Administration, Ambassador Eizenstat negotiated agreements with Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and other European countries covering restitution of property, compensation for slavery, recovery of looted art and bank accounts, and payment of insurance policies for Holocaust victims.
Ambassador Eizenstat coordinated a groundbreaking conference in 1998 in Washington, D.C. on Holocaust-era assets, where representatives of 44 countries and international non-governmental organizations met to discuss how to resolve outstanding claims and how to initiate Holocaust education worldwide. He is the author of a critically acclaimed book on these events, "Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor and the Unfinished Business of World War II," which has been translated into German, French, Czech and Hebrew.
On April 25, 1978, during his tenure as President Carter's chief domestic policy adviser, Ambassador Eizenstat sent a memorandum to the president recommending a presidential commission that would propose a permanent memorial in the nation's capital to the Holocaust victims. President Carter announced the Commission in May of that year, and in September of 1979, the Commission recommended a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
During his more than two decades of public service in several U.S. administrations, Ambassador Eizenstat has held a number of other key positions, including U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration. His work has earned him high civilian awards from the governments of France, Germany, Austria and Belgium, and Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers. He is the author of "The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel, and Its Relationship with the United States" (June 2012).
The ADL Abraham H. Foxman Exceptional Leadership Award was established by Ronald D. and Barbara B. Balser as a tribute to the League's longtime national director, Abraham H. Foxman, who for more than four decades has fought the forces of inhumanity and indecency and all forms of prejudice and discrimination. The Balsers are longtime members of the ADL National Commission.
The award is a specially commissioned bronze sculpture created by the internationally noted artist and 2008 U.S. National Medal of Arts recipient, Jesus Morales. It will be presented periodically to those who have made a lifetime commitment to the betterment of the Jewish community and devoted their career in the service of our nation.