Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, was honoured with the prestigious Damaskinos Award for his support to the Jewish Community of Athens through the beneficent activity of The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. The announcement was made by the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece (AFJMG) and the Jewish Museum of Greece.
The awarding ceremony was held at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, New York City on the 15th of November, under the auspices of Honourable Haris Lalakos, Ambassador of Greece to the United States of America.
The event was well-attended by distinguished guests, including Ambassador Maria Theofili– Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Makis Matsas- President of the Jewish Museum of Greece, Rabbi Joshua Spinner of The Lauder Foundation, Rabbi Martin A. Cohen– Spiritual Leader of the AFJMG, and Rabbi David Adelson– Dean of the Hebrew Union College.
Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder got a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he studied at the University of Paris and received a Certificate in International Business from the University of Brussels. In the early 80’s he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for European and NATO policy. In 1986, he was appointed United States Ambassador to Austria. He remains deeply committed to his Judaic heritage, while he is an active philanthropist at an international level.
The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation’s mission is to restore and support Jewish communities in European countries. Amidst the economic crisis, The Foundation gave Jewish children living in Greece the opportunity to stay firmly connected to their community values and heritage by supporting the operation of the Athens Jewish Community School, which changed its name to “The Lauder Athens Community School” in honour of the Ambassador.
Besides the subjects required by the Greek Ministry of Education, students of grades K-6 attend Jewish history classes, while there is also the possibility for Jewish children in the wider community to participate in an e-learning program.
The Damaskinos Award is offered to individuals for their contribution to the promotion and defence of tolerance and cooperation among all religions in Greece. Among its previous recipients feature His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and Yiannis S. Boutaris– Mayor of the City of Thessaloniki in Greece.