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Los Angeles, U.S.A. - Steven Spielberg, Founder of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, will present Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s highest honor, the Ambassador for Humanity Award. Iger will be honored at the Institute’s Annual Gala on June 6, 2012 for his support of the Institute’s work, his longtime philanthropy, and his leadership role in corporate citizenship. Jimmy Kimmel is host for the evening with a special performance by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Mary J. Blige.
“Bob Iger is one of the good guys, who leads and inspires at the same time,” said Steven Spielberg, Founder of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. “Bob was one of the first visitors to the Shoah Foundation in 1995, shortly after it was established. He didn’t hesitate to support us as we raced against time to videotape the eyewitnesses before it was too late. Now, his ongoing commitment is helping us bring the messages of the Visual History Archive to young people worldwide.”
“Bob Iger is a corporate citizen of the highest order, and we are honored to recognize him as our Ambassador for Humanity,” said USC Shoah Foundation Institute Executive Director Stephen D. Smith. “His ongoing support, and that of The Walt Disney Company, is a great boost to our efforts as we engage students emotionally and cognitively with the testimonies. The good news is that we are finding a shift in attitudes and beliefs about how to treat others, which gives us hope that the testimonies, through this visual medium, can have a transformative effect on perceptions and actions.”
“At jcpenney, we believe that diversity inspires a better workplace and a better world,” said Michael Francis, president of jcpenney, presenting sponsor of the Ambassadors for Humanity Gala. “As a company founded on the Golden Rule philosophy, we could not be more proud to support the USC Shoah Foundation Institute and its promotion of tolerance, cultural understanding and mutual respect. It’s through the Institute’s preservation of personal life stories that we are able to use lessons from the past to create a better tomorrow.”
“It is truly an honor to recognize Robert A. Iger, a venerated member of USC’s Trojan Family,” said C. L. Max Nikias, president of the University of Southern California. “Mr. Iger is a distinguished executive in the entertainment industry, as well as a visionary leader who shares USC’s commitment to education and to young people. He remains an exemplary role model for all USC students.”
Since 1994, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute has collected and maintained an archive of nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses from 56 countries, and in 32 languages. The Institute will soon be announcing that their multi-year, multimillion dollar effort to digitize the original 234,979 Betacam SP tapes that hold the 52,000 testimonies has been fulfilled. This major milestone is just the first step in the ongoing effort to preserve the collection for generations to come, but it is an unprecedented achievement made possible by the support of people all over the world.