Steven Spielberg, Founder of the Shoah Foundation, will present the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Ambassadors for Humanity Award to legendary actor and humanitarian Kirk Douglas. Kirk Douglas will be honored for his commitment and support of the organization at an extraordinary evening hosted by Billy Crystal on October 22, 2008. The Ambassadors for Humanity event will feature a special performance by Bette Midler.
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute collected and maintains an archive of nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in 32 languages and from 56 countries. The “Ambassadors for Humanity” Award honors individuals who embody the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s goal of using the archive as a tool to promote tolerance, cultural understanding, and mutual respect.
The event will also provide the occasion to announce the Institute’s new global initiatives. These initiatives include scholarship and research; the development of online educational tools to provide easier access to the testimonies; a focused international outreach to educators; and the launch of a preservation project to maintain the testimonies in perpetuity. In addition, the Institute will expand its archive to include new content and has formed an historic alliance with the Rwandan organization IBUKA to record the testimonies of survivors of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide.
“Kirk Douglas has been a lifelong leader in promoting the well being of others. He has fought prejudice and stereotypes, and raised public awareness of social problems. He has never been afraid to stand up for those causes even if he was one of the few — sometimes the only one — who recognized the need and could do something about it,” said Steven Spielberg, Shoah Foundation Founder and Honorary Chair of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. “His determination to change the world makes him an ally of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute as it enters a new stage of activity. The Ambassadors for Humanity event will be an opportunity for friends of the Institute to join us in looking towards the future and honoring a man who exemplifies everything the Institute stands for.”