The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity


“Statesman, visionary, humanist: these words best describe Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic. Quick to respond to international crises, such as those in Colombia, Georgia and the Middle East, he has become a world leader whose determination is bringing nations and cultures together in a common quest for stability and peace.”-- Elie Wiesel

As President, Nicolas Sarkozy has emerged as a powerful leader in the international community. Shortly after taking office, he began negotiations with Columbian President Alvaro Uribe and FARC regarding the release of 15 hostages held by the rebel group. His efforts led directly to the mission that successfully secured their release from captivity, including Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, held captive for 6 years. Most recently, with France as holder of the European Union presidency, he played a crucial role in mediating a cease-fire between Russia and Georgia.

The crisis in Darfur has been a major focus of President Sarkozy’s tenure. Last June, President Sarkozy initiated and chaired a ministerial meeting in Paris regarding peace and security in Africa to increase international mobilization around the efforts of the African Union, European Union and the UN in Darfur and the region. Recent discussions have addressed the need for facilitating humanitarian aid jointly decided upon by Sudan and the UN, and the prospect of a hybrid peacekeeping force.

A visionary with important goals for his country and the world, President Sarkozy is especially dedicated to improving environmental conditions. During the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, President Sarkozy committed to various initiatives, including a program of tax measures and investment plans aimed to change attitudes towards the environment and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Elie Wiesel Foundation honored President Sarkozy with its Humanitarian Award on September 22, 2008 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. The Foundation chose to bestow this award upon President Sarkozy in recognition of his commitment to renew and strengthen France’s ties to the United States, his steadfast support of Israel and his global humanitarian efforts.

Participants in the program, in addition to Elie and Marion Wiesel and President Sarkozy, included television news anchor Brian Williams, actor Michael Douglas, and Violinist Sirena Huang.

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