Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor at a ceremony at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York City on February 9. The French ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, presented the insignia to Gregorian in recognition of his three-decade effort to strengthen Franco-American relations, advance links between French and American institutions of higher education, and promote the study of French culture and language.

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Since he left the presidency of Brown University to become President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York 20 years ago, Vartan Gregorian has let his experiences as an Armenian immigrant guide his hand. His projects and grants promote cross-cultural cooperation within and between communities worldwide. He seeks to adapt philanthropy to the changing, globalized world we live in by supporting international peace, democracy, and the advancement of education abroad (as shown by his work to strengthen higher education in Africa and as discussed in my book, Unequal Partners, of which he wrote the foreword) and in the U.S.

As a leading scholar in Middle Eastern Studies with a unique set of experiences and knowledge, Vartan has a deep understanding of geopolitics today and of the fragile equilibrium of forces worldwide. This makes him an invaluable advisor, and his wisdom a great leader. When, in 2014, Vartan read a New York Times article on the “Bilingual Revolution,” and my work to bring dual language education to public schools in the United States, he simply picked up the phone and asked to be involved. Bilingualism was his door to higher education, and he wanted to open that door to others.

Dear Vartan, I feel blessed to have received your support and friendship, and I congratulate you upon receiving the French Government’s Legion of Honor, an award that was bestowed upon Andrew Carnegie 110 years ago.

Read the press release here:France Honors President Vartan Gregorian

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