March 21, 2017 — New York, New York
AJC will honor Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, with its prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award at the AJC Global Forum 2017, which will take place June 4 to 6, in Washington, D.C. The AJC Global Forum is the advocacy organization’s signature annual event, bringing together more than 2,500 participants from across the United States and 70 countries around the world.
“President Iohannis exemplifies what it means to be a Light Unto the Nations,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who last met with the President in Bucharest in July 2016. “His leadership in strengthening his country’s democracy and rule of law are hallmarks of distinction, worthy of admiration and emulation, as are his efforts to combat anti-Semitism, and deepen ties between Romania and the U.S., as well as Romania and Israel.”
AJC has long believed that Romania plays a key role in NATO, the European Union, and in its bilateral links, in defending freedom and maintaining regional and global security.
“With the United Kingdom’s planned exit from the 28-member European Union, Romania will become the sixth most populous nation, enhancing its role on the European scene and in the transatlantic dialogue,” Harris added.
Until earlier this month, Romania held the chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), composed of 31 nations. AJC praised the country’s stewardship of IHRA for “seeking to blaze new trails in strategies for combating anti-Semitism and promoting Holocaust education and research." In May 2016, the IHRA adopted the working definition of anti-Semitism at a meeting in Bucharest.
AJC maintains regular contact with Romanian officials in New York, Washington, D.C., and across Europe and in Israel.
The Light Unto the Nations Award is the highest honor AJC presents to distinguished global leaders. The previous recipients are: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
AJC, founded in 1906 and with headquarters in New York, maintains 22 regional offices across the United States; 10 overseas posts; and 33 international association agreements with Jewish communities, including the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania.