January 20, 2010 -- Berlin -- AJC, the premier global advocacy organization, conferred its prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
David Harris, AJC Executive Director, presented the award today at a ceremony at the Chancellery in Berlin.
"Chancellor Merkel is a light unto the nations,” said Harris. “Her steadfast defense of human freedom, human dignity and human rights are all hallmarks of her visionary leadership. Moreover, for AJC, her particular commitment to the special and enduring relationship of Germany to Israel, to, as she herself has put it, a culture of remembrance regarding the legacy of the Holocaust, and tenacious opposition to anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and trivialization, and all forms of racism, cannot be praised often enough."
The ceremony took place during an AJC senior leadership delegation visit to Germany. AJC has maintained close relations with Germany for decades, and opened its Berlin office in 1998. Deidre Berger is the current director.
In May 2006, Merkel joined with President Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in addressing AJC's Centennial Gala in Washington, D.C. AJC leadership meet regularly with top German officials in Germany and the U.S.
Previous recipients of The Light Unto the Nations Award include President Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez.