GOARCH - December 10, 1998

Elie Wiesel to be Recipient of Athenagoras Humanitarian Award

New York - Today, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America announced that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Elie Wiesel has accepted the Archbishop's invitation to be the recipient of the Archbishop Athenagoras Humanitarian award on the 27th of February, 1999. This award is given by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. Past recipients have included Mother Theresa and President Jimmy Carter.

A native of Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), Wiesel and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz when he was fifteen years old. His mother and younger sister perished there, his two older sisters survived. Wiesel and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died.

After the war, Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a journalist in that city. Prof. Wiesel has published over forty books including his famous memoir La Nuit (Night). Since its publication in 1958, La Nuit has been translated into twenty-five languages and millions of copies have been sold.

Upon learning of Prof. Wiesel's acceptance, Archbishop Spyridon said: "The honor in this case is ours, in that Prof. Wiesel has graciously agreed to be our guest. It is an honor not only for the Archons of the Ecumenical Throne, but for the plenitude of Orthodox Christianity in America. We are eager to receive Prof. Wiesel and his message of justice, freedom and truth."

Biography: Elie Wiesel

University Professor and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Boston University Professor Elie Wiesel has worked on behalf of oppressed people for much of his adult life. His personal experience of the Holocaust has led him to use his talents as an author, teacher and storyteller to defend human rights and peace throughout the world. Wiesel's efforts have earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award, the rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor, and in 1986, the Nobel Peace Prize. He has received more than ninety honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed him Chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust. In 1980 he became Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Elie Wiesel is also the Founding President of the Paris based Universal Academy of Cultures. His more than forty books have won numerous awards, including the Prix Medicis for A Beggar in Jerusalem, the Prix Livre Inter for The Testament and the Grand Prize for Literature from the City of Paris for The Fifth Son. The first volume of Wiesel's memoirs, All Rivers Run to the Sea, published in New York (Knopf) in December, 1995. The second volume, Et la mer níest pas remplie, published in Paris (Le Seuil) in 1996 will be published in English, And The Sea is not Full, in New York (Knopf) in late 1999.

Elie Wiesel has been Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York (1972-1976), and first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in the Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University (1982-1983). Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University where he also holds the title of University Professor. He is a member of the Faculty in the Department of Religion as well as the Department of Philosophy.

An American citizen since 1963, Elie Wiesel lives in New York with his wife and son.

  December 10, 1998 ]