NEW YORK – American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece (AFJMG) and the Jewish Museum of Greece announced that Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, was the 3rd Recipient of the Damaskinos Award on November 15 in New York City. This prestigious award honors individuals who have promoted and defended tolerance and cooperation among all religions in Greece.
During the financial crisis in Greece, The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation took the Jewish Community of Athens under its umbrella by showing its support for the Athens Jewish Community School as well as other organizations. The school was re-named “The Lauder Athens Community School” in honor of Ambassador Lauder. The School offers all the subjects required by The Greek Ministry of Education as well as a curriculum of Jewish history courses for grades K-6. In addition, an e-learning program available to Jewish children in the community was established.
In keeping with The Foundation’s mission to re-build and support Jewish life in communities throughout Europe, The Lauder Athens Jewish Community School and its programs have provided an opportunity for the children of the community to connect, learn and develop their Jewish identities and preserve their heritage for future generations.
The Award Ceremony took place at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park in New York City, in a room full of distinguished guests. The event was held under the auspices of Honorable Haris Lalakos, Ambassador of Greece to the United States of America.
Guests included Ambassador Maria Theofili- Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Makis Matsas- President of the Jewish Museum of Greece, among others. Rabbi Joshua Spinner of The Lauder Foundation, Rabbi Martin A. Cohen- Spiritual Leader of the AFJMG, and Rabbi David Adelson- Dean of the Hebrew Union College were in attendance as well.
On behalf of The American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece, thanks were extended to the distinguished guests as well as many members and donors who made the event possible: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Onassis Foundation USA, Navios Maritime Holdings Inc, S. Goldman Advisors LLC, Citi Private Bank, Atlantic Bank, Mr. Clay Maitland and Mr. & Mrs. Saky Yakas, among others.
Previous recipients of the Damaskinos Award were His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and Yiannis S. Boutaris- Mayor of the City of Thessaloniki in Greece.
As noted on the Lauder Foundation website, the internationally-prominent businessman, philanthropist, community and civic leader, Ronald S. Lauder maintains a deep commitment to his Judaic heritage within a mosaic of charitable and professional endeavors that reach around the world. He was appointed United States Ambassador to Austria by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He brought to this position an extensive knowledge of European history; fluency in European languages; and solid experience gained from his Pentagon position in the early 80’s as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO policy.
The son of Estee Lauder and the late Joseph Lauder, founders of Estee Lauder, Inc., Ronald S. Lauder attended the Bronx High School of Science and holds a Bachelors degree in International Business from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He studied at the University of Paris, and received a Certificate in International Business from the University of Brussels. Lauder married the former Jo Carole Knopf in July of 1967. They have two children, Aerin and Jane. The family resides in New York City.