Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will receive the inaugural 2014 Anne Frank Award for Human Dignity and Tolerance. Rabbi Saperstein is being honored for his work to confront intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination while upholding freedom and equal rights. For 40 years, Rabbi Saperstein has led the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and has headed several national religious coalitions which have worked to both protect and promote religious freedom, interfaith dialogues and responses to discrimination.
In 1999, Rabbi Saperstein was elected as the first chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, created by a unanimous vote of Congress. Most recently, he was nominated by President Obama to be ambassador at large for international religious freedom.
A second award, Special Recognition for Religious Tolerance and Reconciliation, will also be awarded to the Rev. Canon Andrew White for his commitment to enhance religious tolerance and reconciliation in Iraq and the Middle East. Rev. Canon White is the president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.
Rabbi Saperstein will speak at the award ceremony, after which Katrina Lantos Swett of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice will moderate a “Conversation on Individual Responsibility in Confronting Intolerance” with both the awardees. In advance of the Washington, D.C., premiere, The Thomas Circle Singers will perform selections from “Annelies,” the first major choral interpretation of The Diary of Anne Frank. To also mark this occasion, the Library of Congress will host a small exhibit dedicated to Anne Frank including artifacts from the Frank family.
An advisory committee, consisting of congressional Dutch Caucus members and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.); Michael Abramowitz, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Katrina Lantos Swett, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice; Ronald Leopold, Anne Frank House Amsterdam; Yvonne Simons, Anne Frank Center USA; and Ambassador Rudolf Bekink, Royal Netherlands Embassy evaluated several individuals and organizations for the inaugural Anne Frank Award. The award is a continuation of the embassy’s work to honor the legacy of Anne Frank.