Shimon Peres

The Lantos Foundation Remembers Shimon Peres

It is with profound grief that the Lantos Foundation marks the passing of Shimon Peres, one of the giants of our time. The last of Israel's Founding Fathers, he was a statesman of the world and his death is a deep loss to all people of goodwill. He was a man of great intellect and principle whose devotion to his nation was equaled by his determination to seek peace.

He had a close and abiding friendship with Congressman Lantos, who held dear the memory of celebrating his 80th birthday with President Peres in Israel. It has been one of the Lantos Foundation’s great honors to have awarded our highest recognition, the Lantos Prize, to President Peres in 2014.

We will forever be grateful for his eternally optimistic, hopeful, and loving vision of a world united in freedom, respect, and peace. While many, including the Lantos Foundation, will strive to carry forward his noble legacy, the world will be hard-pressed to find his equal. 

Remarks by Mrs. Annette Lantos; Lantos Prize Ceremony 2014

"Many years ago Tom and I took our two young daughters on a trip to Prague where, in the old Jewish Quarter, we learned of the Nazi plans to establish a “Museum of an Extinct Race.” I remember feeling the cold sense of dread and horror that one experiences in the face of evil. I clutched my two little girls’ hands a bit tighter that day, but not in fear, rather in determination!

Like you, President Peres, we were determined to answer this evil with good. You have answered it in countless ways, most importantly as one of the fathers of the unprecedented miracle that is modern day Israel and by your heroic defense of her highest aspirations and deepest values.

Through our work on behalf of human rights Tom and I gave our answer, but as you know Tom’s proudest rebuke to those who sought to wipe us off the face of the earth was his family. Our two wonderful daughters shared a vision. They were determined to rebuild the family that had been taken from us and to rekindle a light for the millions of murdered children. And they have kindled many beautiful lights who are now the light of my life. Surrounding me are my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We reaffirm today and forever that like Abraham of old we choose goodness over evil, light over darkness, and we choose life!"

Israeli President Shimon Peres to Be Named 2014 Lantos Prize Laureate

June 2014, WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice announced today that the 2014 Lantos Human Rights Prize will be awarded to Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel. President Peres will receive the award for his unwavering dedication to the profound values of democracy and human rights that form the foundation of the State of Israel, as well as his pursuit of peace, justice and reconciliation in the Middle East. Former recipients of the Lantos Prize include former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Professor Elie Wiesel, Paul Rusesabagina, and Chen Guangcheng. The award ceremony will take in place in Washington, DC on June 26, 2014. It will be open to press and coverage is invited.

“The nominating committee’s decision to honor President Peres with this award was inspired by Shimon Peres’ over 60 years of extraordinary leadership as a builder of his nation, as a global statesman and as a tireless and inspired advocate for peace and justice in the Middle East”, said Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. “President Peres stands out as a leader whose passion  for his country and his people is equaled by his commitment to the cause of peace for all people of the region.”

Over the course of his career, President Peres has received numerous honors for his efforts in the Middle East, and the Lantos Human Rights Prize further recognizes his dedication to democracy and civil liberty. Peres was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. He later went on to establish the Peres Center for Peace. Despite enormous tensions and challenges in the Middle East, Peres has been an eloquent advocate for the fundamental human rights of all peoples. 

The Lantos Foundation established the Lantos Human Rights Prize in 2009 to honor and bring attention to heroes of the human rights movement. It is awarded annually to an individual or organization that best exemplifies the Foundation’s mission, namely to be a vital voice standing up for the values of decency, dignity, freedom, and justice in every corner of the world. The prize also serves to commemorate the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U.S. Congress and a prominent advocate for human rights during his nearly three decades as a U.S. Representative.

Additional details about the award ceremony honoring President Shimon Peres will be announced soon. For information call the Lantos Foundation at 603-226-3636. Press inquiries should be directed to 202.265.3000.