awards

Rabbi Arthur Schneier
Distinguished guests, friends, all, Alina just spoke briefly about the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, but if you really want to understand what has been accomplished, we have in this ballroom over 40 nations represented, and all those nations we were active in bringing about conflict resolution, fighting for religious freedom, protecting minorities, and Id like all the former prime ministers, foreign ministers ... and we have ambassadors coming all the way from Washington just to be with us to support our cause for peaceful coexistence.

Its like a mini UN General Assembly. The only difference, we had a lot of rhetorical conflict at the UN. Here all of us, what brought you here is our prayer and solidarity for peaceful coexistence. Am I correct?

So, before I proceed, Id like all the ambassadors who have joined us, all the former foreign ministers, prime ministers including Her Highness Princess Lalla of Morocco, all of you to please rise so we can give you a great big applause including Ambassador Cui Tiankai of China, ambassadors, Hungary, Qatar, Jordan.

All of you. Prime ministers, foreign ministers, come on. Thank you for joining us. Christine, as I said before, youre highly respected. At a time of distrust in leadership, world leaders have great confidence in your leadership. You serve your country, France, and now youre serving the international community with wisdom and heart, and so you will be introduced after my remarks by someone who also has the high distinction, Steve. Brian Moynihan, Steve Schwarzman, Dr. Kissinger and of course were greatly honored for the presence of the Secretary of Treasury of the United States of America, Steven T. Mnuchin.

Now Ill be very personal. He has a middle initial by the name of T. Do you know what it stands for? Its not Theodore. Its not Teddy. Its Terner, T-e-r-n-e-r. His grandparents, by the way, members of Park East Synagogue, his mother, father, the Terner family, good DNA of doing good deeds and charity. The U.S. Treasury Secretary I can tell you is a real treasure, a real treasure because I want you to know when President Sarkozy was honored, you were co-chair of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation Dinner and, Steve Schwarzman, you received the Appeal of Conscience Award.

So, were greatly honored to have also the foreign minister of the Holy See again with us, Archbishop Gallagher. I just want to include we have a lot of work to be done. You know 1918, World War I. Thirty-eight, invasion of Czechoslovakia. What followed? Wars and wars and conflicts. Im a firm believer every war, ever conflict comes to an end. It just claims too many lives and too much suffering.

So, if we work together for peace and freedom and human rights, I think we can become those bridge builders who can avoid the tragedy that civilization faces, and were hopeful. I want you to know that the development since 1951, Pope Francis for that matter, any pope was not recognized in the Peoples Republic of China as the Bishop of Rome, and just recently a very important agreement was reached between your country and the Holy See. We salute you because it means a lot of unifying the Catholic population of China with the Bishop of Rome.

Another example. I dont know how many of you noticed, Dr. Kissinger and I were in Morocco. Morocco is the first country that recognized the United States diplomatically. We were there for our 200 th anniversary. King Mohammed VI convened 300 Muslim scholars to take a position for mutual acceptance, for respect for one another. So, there are many, many things that are happening and were all involved. Each one of us are here as given a God-given talent to help perfect the imperfect world, and I think that if we unite particularly at this time of xenophobia, Christianophobia, anti- Semitism, Islamophobia, we can make sure that that scourge will not undermine our civilization.

Now I want to turn to a bridge builder. Youre going to introduce Steve Schwarzman? Im taking you away. No, youll introduce him properly, but I just want to say something. Steve Schwarzman, our tribute leadership chair of this evening, past recipient of the award, Steve, youre a bridge builder. You have used finance, Blackstone, and with our late trustee Pete Peterson, a blessed memory, whose son, Michael, is here you have gone out of your way to build bridges through finance, building bridges throughout the world, and your greatest legacy is the Schwarzman scholarships at Tsinghua University looking to the younger generation to carry forward.
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