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Ambassador Felix G. Rohatyn to receive Society’s Emma Lazarus Award

On Thursday evening, May 17th, Ambassador Felix G. Rohatyn will receive the Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award at the Society’s annual Benefit Dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The Society will celebrate Ambassador Rohatyn as the embodiment of the American Dream : from youthful refugee Fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe, to American citizen, global business executive, public servant and humanitarian. Previous recipients of the award include Edgar Bronfman, Sylvia Hassenfeld, Henry A. Kissinger, Beverly Sills, Sanford I Weill, Aaron Feuerstein and Abram L. Sachar.

Felix Rohatyn

At the Dinner, the AJHS will announce the establishment of a fitting tribute : the Felix G. Rohatyn Fellowship to support scholars traveling from abroad to use the Society’s collections. Their research will help peoples around the world appreciate American Jewry’s role in national and world affairs.

Born in Vienna, Austria on May 29, 1928, Ambassador Rohatyn received his secondary school education in France. With his family, he Çed from Paris to Casablanca and arrived in the United States in 1942. After serving in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, he joined the investment bank Lazard Freres and Company in New York where he remained for four decades. He was Managing Director of the company when in 1997 he was chosen by President Clinton to be the United States Ambassador to France, a post he held until December 28, 2000.
From 1975 to 1993, Ambassador Rohatyn served as Chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC) of the City of New York, where he managed the negotiations that enabled New York to pull itself out of a financial crisis. Speaking of this period, the Ambassador says, “That’s the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life. Nothing else comes close in terms of what it meant to me emotionally because of my involvement with the city, and because as a refugee, trying to finally become part of it.”

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was Vice-Chairman of Carnegie Hall. He has also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Stock Exchange and serves on the Board of Directors of several NYSE listed corporations. Ambassador Rohatyn was made a Commander in the French Legion of Honor.

Ambassador Rohatyn is the father of three children. He is married to Elizabeth Fly Rohatyn, the former Chairman of the New York Public Library.

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