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Yad Vashem Receives Prince of Asturias Award for Concord

12 September 2007

Today, the Prince of Asturias Foundation announced that Yad Vashem has received the prestigious international Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, expressed his appreciation to the Foundation and the jury for recognizing the work of Yad Vashem.

The Prince of Asturias Award for Concord is bestowed upon the person, persons or institution whose work has made an exemplary and outstanding contribution to mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence amongst men, to the struggle against injustice or ignorance, to the defense of freedom, or whose work has widened the horizons of knowledge or has been outstanding in protecting and preserving mankind's heritage. This year, 47 candidates from 28 countries competed for the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. Yad Vashem's nomination was proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and supported by eminent public figures from around the world, including former Mexican president Vicente Fox Quesada, former UN Secretary-General Koffi A. Annan, former European Parliament president and 2005 Prince of Asturias Award Laureate (for International Cooperation) Simone Veil, German Parliamentarian Joschka Fischer, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, US senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Holocaust researcher and Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, and Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, thanked the Foundation for its recognition. “I am deeply moved, and very proud, that Yad Vashem has been honored with the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. My sincere appreciation goes to the Prince of Asturias Foundation for this singular honor. This prestigious international award recognizes that the memory of the Holocaust - the systematic murder of the Jews that took place in the heart of Europe - has profound significance for the coexistence of the family of nations, today, and through the ages. The receipt of the Prince of Asturias Award inspires us to continue in our efforts to build a better future through our confrontation with the past, and emphasizes the awesome responsibility that Yad Vashem bears. As the generation of the witnesses to these horrors dwindles, Yad Vashem will continue to transform their memory into building blocks for a better world - one characterized by tolerance and mutual respect amongst all peoples.”

The Award will be presented on October 26, 2007 in Spain, in the presence of the Spanish royal family. Previous winners of the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord include UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières, H.M. Hussein I, King of Jordan, Stephen Hawking and JK Rowling. Award winners in other categories include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Simone Veil, Václav Havel, and Nelson Mandela. This year Al Gore, Amos Oz, and Bob Dylan were among the winners.

“I am overwhelmed that the Foundation has recognized Yad Vashem’s outstanding accomplishments. Over the past decade, Yad Vashem has positioned itself to face the challenges of the future. Building on over 5 decades of documentation and research, Yad Vashem is committed to broadening the scope of its educational and commemorative activities both at the Jerusalem campus and abroad,” said Perla Hazan, Director of the Iber-American, Spain and Portugal Desk at Yad Vashem

The reading of the Jury's decision will be broadcast on live television and the signal will be openly transmitted via the Hispasat satellite [satellite information: http://www.fundacionprincipedeasturias.org/ing/01/noticia651.html ]

Information about the Prince of Asturias Foundation and Awards is available at http://www.fundacionprincipedeasturias.org/ing/index.html

More information about Yad Vashem is available at www.yadvashem.org