October 25, 2007

French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev with the Legion of Honor at a noontime ceremony at the Elysee today .

“The Legion of Honor I present today is for you and for Yad Vashem, whose international reputation and importance is a result of your determined activity, one that is suffused with passion and inspiration,” said President Sarkozy.

“I accept this decoration with both humility and pride,” said Shalev. “It strengthens me and all the dedicated staff at Yad Vashem in our efforts to meaningfully impart the universal legacy of the Holocaust, especially to the younger generations.”

Photo: French President Nicolas Sarkozy (right) awards Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev (left) with the Legion of Honor at the Elysee Palace, today, October 25, 2007. (photo: Samuel Croix)

Tomorrow Shalev will be in Spain to accept the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord on behalf of Yad Vashem.

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Avner Shalev was appointed Chairman of Yad Vashem in 1993. From the beginning of his tenure, Shalev has striven to redefine Holocaust remembrance and education, introducing a far-reaching multiyear redevelopment plan. This has included opening an International School for Holocaust Studies, enlarging Yad Vashem’s archives and research facilities, and building a new Museum Complex. He is Chief Curator of the new Holocaust History Museum that opened in March 2005.

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, was created by the Israeli Parliament in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education. Over the past decade Yad Vashem has revolutionized the approach to Holocaust commemoration. Through its new museum complex, research facilities and the International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem seeks to meaningfully impart the legacy of the Holocaust in the 21st century. Yad Vashem is visited annually by over one million people. More than 7 million visitors are expected to visit its website in 2007. Information about Yad Vashem is available at www.yadvashem.org.