ELIE WIESEL TO RECEIVE 2014 JOHN JAY MEDAL FOR JUSTICE
To Be Presented By U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Readings And Performances By Sir Patrick Stewart, James Earl Jones and Jessye Norman
NEW YORK, NY, May 6, 2014 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice will award the John Jay Medal for Justice to Elie Wiesel, author, philosopher, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1986, on Tuesday, May 6th at 6:30pm. The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will present the Medal for Justice to Mr. Wiesel during a ceremony at the College’s Gerald W. Lynch Theater at 524 West 59th Street.
“We are delighted to honor Mr. Wiesel, an inspirational, iconoclastic, fierce advocate for justice,” said John Jay President Jeremy Travis. “He has made extraordinary contributions to mankind through his writing, teaching, advocacy and dedication to fighting injustice. The John Jay College community is itself honored by the opportunity to celebrate his life, work and legacy.”
The special ceremony will include readings by award-winning stage, film and television actors Sir Patrick Stewart and James Earl Jones and musical performances by renowned soprano Jessye Norman, bass baritone Simon Estes, violinist Gil Shaham, pianist Akira Euguchi, the Amphion String Quartet featuring clarinetist Anthony McGill, and the Mozart Academy Ensemble.
Created in 2008, the award honors leaders for their dedication to the cause of justice. Previous John Jay Medal winners include the Honorable Judith Kaye, (retired) Chief Judge of the State of New York; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland; BJ Bernstein, prominent Atlanta attorney; the NYU Brennan Center for Justice; Leymah Gbowee, Liberian activist who later won a Nobel Peace Prize; the Innocence Project; the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project; Sunitha Krishnan, founder and president of Prajwala; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund; and Sheriff Thomas J. Dart of Cook County, Illinois; Dr. Hawa Abdi, Somali human rights activist; Harry Belafonte, actor, musician and civil rights activist; and Vivian Nixon, executive director of the College and Community Fellowship.
About Elie Wiesel
Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania, which is now part of Romania. He was fifteen years old when he and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945.
After the war, Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a journalist. During an interview with the distinguished French writer, Francois Mauriac, he was persuaded to write about his experiences in the death camps. The result was his internationally acclaimed memoir, Night (La Nuit), which has since been translated into more than thirty languages.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Wiesel as Chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. In 1980, he became the Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is President of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization he and his wife, Marion, created to fight indifference, intolerance and injustice. Wiesel has received more than 100 honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning.
A devoted supporter of Israel, Wiesel has also defended the cause of Soviet Jews, Nicaragua’s Miskito Indians, Argentina’s Desaparecidos, Cambodian refugees, the Kurds, victims of famine and genocide in Africa, of apartheid in South Africa, and victims of war in the former Yugoslavia. For more than fifteen years, Wiesel and his wife have been dedicated to the cause of Ethiopian-born Israeli youth through the Foundation’s Beit Tzipora Centers for Study and Enrichment.
Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, where he also holds the title of University Professor. He is a member of the Faculty in the Department of Religion as well as the Department of Philosophy. Previously, he served as Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York (1972-76) and the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University(1982-83).
Wiesel is the author of more than sixty books of fiction and non-fiction, including A Beggar in Jerusalem (Prix Médicis winner), The Testament (Prix Livre Inter winner), The Fifth Son (winner of the Grand Prize in Literature from the City of Paris), two volumes of his memoirs, All Rivers Run to the Sea and And the Sea is Never Full, and most recently The Sonderberg Case.
For his literary and human rights activities, he has received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, the National Humanities Medal, the Medal of Liberty, and the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor. In 1986, Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for Peace.
The Justice Award Ceremony is made possible by the gracious support of Anne Beane Rudman, a Trustee of the John Jay College Foundation. For details about the ceremony, click here.
About John Jay College of Criminal Justice
An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.