Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev is to be awarded the prestigious Patron of Jerusalem (Yakir Yerushalayim) Award in recognition of his public activities. The award will be presented in a ceremony on Wednesday June 1, 2011, Jerusalem Day, at the Tower of David Museum. Since 1967, the award has been presented by the Mayor of Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day to individuals, who have contributed to the city of Jerusalem, and whose public service has been focused in Israel's capital and on its behalf.
Born in Jerusalem, Avner Shalev served as Bureau Chief for IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar (Dado) during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and was Chief Education Officer and head of the Education Corps. After retiring from military service, Shalev served as Director General of the Culture Authority in the Ministry of Education and Culture, and Chairman of the National Culture and Art Council, and was on the board of directors of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Shalev initiated the establishment of The Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in the city, and positioned the Israel Festival as a Jerusalem event.
Shalev was appointed Chairman of Yad Vashem in 1993. From the beginning of his tenure, Shalev has strived to redefine Holocaust remembrance and education, introducing a far-reaching multiyear redevelopment plan with the goal of preparing Yad Vashem to meet the challenges of Holocaust commemoration in the 21st century. To that end, he has put education at the forefront of Yad Vashem’s activities by opening the International School for Holocaust Studies, as well as enlarging Yad Vashem’s archives and research facilities, and building a new Museum Complex. He is Chief Curator of the Holocaust History Museum that opened in 2005.
“Shalev dared to position Holocaust Remembrance in the 21st century at the center of public discourse, in Israel and abroad. Time and again, he pulls it from the margins of social and cultural debate to the heart of our creative efforts. Avner has been remarkably adept at defining the existential question and making it resonate as a rich, profound and contemporary response, that highlights the experience of the individual - the victim, the survivor and the rescuer - during the Holocaust and afterwards, and provides impetus to the vital development of our generation,” -- Dr. Martin Weyl, Holocaust survivor and former Director of the Israel Museum, to the Award panel.
In 2003, Yad Vashem received the Israel Prize, and in 2007 Shalev received the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy. That same year, Shalev received, on Yad Vashem’s behalf, the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord from Spanish Crown Prince Felipe.