University president John DeGioia received the Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The award, given on Sept. 12 at a ceremony at the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown, recognized DeGioia’s achievements in combating discrimination at Georgetown, including the establishment of the Center for Jewish Civilization and leading educational programs to educate Catholic educators on the Holocaust.
The awards ceremony included a cocktail hour followed by dinner, during which speeches were given by members of the Georgetown community and the ADL thanking DeGioia. Speakers included regional and national heads of the ADL, current and former Georgetown University faculty, and Washington mayor Muriel Bowser.
The speeches reflected the challenge of the current time for those fighting discrimination. “This is a critical moment for that mission in our country. Every day it seems there’s a new shocking headline—conflict in the streets, on our campuses, in the public square, and increasingly, online,” said Doron Ezickson, regional director of the ADL.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL, commended DeGioia for the way he has responded to outbreaks of anti-Semitism on Georgetown’s campus this month. “We saw swastikas painted on the walls of elevators across the campus, and it was Jack who immediately responded by issuing a statement to the university community stating his school’s unequivocal renunciation of these acts and launched an effort to identify those responsible and ensure that all the impacted students received the support that they needed,” Greenblatt said.
Speakers also thanked DeGioia for ongoing projects at Georgetown, such as a commitment to Jewish-Catholic dialogue, establishment of the Center for Jewish Civilization, and contributions to Jewish life on Georgetown’s campus. “This is a moment for us to express how proud we are of our president at Georgetown. It’s also, more importantly, an opportunity to celebrate the values that have animated his work and that he has ensured come alive in our community—our commitment to interfaith dialogue, understanding the dialogues, civility, respect, and caring for one another,” said Paul Tagliabue (COL ’62).
ADL leaders Ezickson and Greenblatt talked about how important DeGioia and Georgetown’s partnerships were for their work. “It is only through partnership through individuals like Jack and venerable institutions like Georgetown University that our fight together can have sustainable success. Together, we will continue teaching the new generation of the blessing and honor it is to reside in the United States of America and of the obligations to each other that we carry as a result,“ Ezickson said.
Upon accepting his award, DeGioia thanked the ADL for their work in combating inequality and said he was confident it would continue to be successful. “We are truly grateful to you, now and for each moment in throughout our nation’s history when the ADL has inspired renewed committeemen to the call for equality and justice,” DeGioia said. “This is our shared work, this is our ongoing work, and it is such an honor to be with all of you this evening.”
Image Credit: Rebecca Zaritsky