On May 23rd, we celebrated an important moment in Tanenbaum’s history, our 25th Anniversary Gala: Peace Made Possible. In an evening highlighted by moments of profound reflection and celebration, we fortified our commitment to justice – and to never, ever forget.
The evening began with a moment of silence to remember victims of another random act of terror, in Manchester. Then founder and president Dr. Georgette F. Bennett was recognized as an Inspiration Circle honoree and she introduced 11 other friends and supporters who’ve helped Tanenbaum grow from a one-woman initiative to a vibrant, internationally-in-demand organization. The applause couldn’t even be held back as His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America was honored, along with Angelica Berrie, Ted Childs, Ilan Kauftal, Howard Milstein, Amelia and Adebayo Ogunlesi, Dr. Leonard S. Polonsky CBE, Dr. Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka, Judy Thompson, Scottie Twine and Maz Zouhairi.
Our Corporate Bridge Builder Award went to the Libra Group and was accepted by its Chairman and CEO, George Logothetis. Libra Group is a diverse international business with a commitment to giving back embedded in its culture. It’s latest philanthropic venture is the HOME Project which is dedicated to providing shelter and support for refugees, especially unaccompanied children in Greece. Everyone listened intently as Logothetis spoke about the HOME Project’s impact so far and how crucial it is to ensure people’s beliefs and sources of hope are respected and “oxygenated with dignity.”
Former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon received the 2017 Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding. By video, he described the rise of terrorism as one of the world’s greatest threats, and spoke to the urgent need for humanity to remain committed to peace. Our 2017 Adam Solomon Award for Excellence was awarded to Lycée Français de New York, a bilingual school that teaches respect, because today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders.
Later in the evening, Michael Bornstein, author of Survivors Club, powerfully introduced 2017 Media Bridge Builder Awardee Soledad O’Brien. He quietly shared recollections as a Holocaust survivor and later how he was “ruthlessly bullied” as a student in post-WWII Germany for being Jewish. As Soledad O’Brien concluded in her speech, “Peace is made possible when we don’t stop working at it. We celebrate tonight, and tomorrow we’ll get back to work.”
And now, we’ll do just that.
Joyce S. Dubensky
P.S. Our gala raffle winner for 2017 is Sam Matino of Concordia, Inc.! Thanks again to all who participated, see you next year!
- Nadine Augusta, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion & Corporate Social Responsibility, DTCC
- C. Justin Foa, President and CEO, Foa & Son Corporation International Insurance Brokers, Tanenbaum Board Chair
Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General, United Nations
2017 RABBI MARC H. TANENBAUM AWARD FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF INTERRELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING
Libra Group, Accepted by George Logothetis, Chairman and CEO
2017 CORPORATE BRIDGE BUILDER AWARD
Soledad O’Brien, CEO of Starfish Media Group, Host of Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien
2017 MEDIA BRIDGE BUILDER AWARD
Lycée Français de New York
2017 ADAM SOLOMON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE
Longtime Friends & Supporters
- Dr. Georgette F. Bennett
- Angelica Berrie
- Ted Childs
- His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America
- Ilan Kauftal
- Howard Milstein
- Amelia and Adebayo Ogunlesi
- Dr. Leonard S. Polonsky CBE
- Dr. Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka
- Judy Thompson
- Scottie Twine
- Maz Zouhairi
When I heard the news that Gwen Ifill had died, like so many others, I gasped. She was an icon, and more importantly, she was a trusted voice who helped untangle complex issues and events, from domestic politics to foreign affairs. Whenever I looked to find out what was really happening in the world, she was there.
In 2010, Tanenbaum honored Gwen for her commitment to truth, integrity and respect—and for her role as a Media Bridge Builder in a world too often divided. That was a special moment for us.
So when I heard of her loss, I was not only shocked. I was shaken. In losing Gwen, we added one more nail in the coffin of truth and integrity in public life.
During the last several decades, and certainly in the recent election cycle, we have witnessed the erosion of truth, together with a spiraling inability to assess and debate real facts. We can blame technology. We can blame tribalism. We can blame Twitter.
But the reality is that, for many reasons, getting to truth and complexity is now hard. So, as I remember Gwen Ifill, I say thank you. She reminded us that facts matter. Why truth is valuable. How we can hold vastly different opinions and still debate them. And why we must have the same—real—facts when we do so.
The loss of Gwen Ifill makes it much more difficult to stay the course of civility, truth and discourse. More difficult, and that much more important.
To honor her legacy, we all need to assume responsibility. To honor accuracy, truth and the dignity of all people. At Tanenbaum, we are committed to remembering Gwen Ifill and in trying to honor her by the way we do our work every day.
May her memory be for a blessing.
Joyce S. Dubensky
Gwen Ifill, 2010 Tanenbaum Media Bridge Builder awardee.