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Awards & Events
The Legion of Honor
The Legion of Honor (Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur), France’s premier award, was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize eminent accomplishments of service to France. The Order is made up of three ranks -- chevalier, officier, commandeur -- and two high offices (“dignités”) -- grand officier and grand croix. A Presidential award, the Legion of Honor may be give to foreign (non-French) citizens in recognition of actions benefitting the country of France or, more broadly, achievements which upold its ideals. American honorees include John Ashbery, Renée Fleming, Wynton Marsalis, Barbra Streisand, and Elie Wiesel, as well as hundreds of World War II veterans.
The Order of Merit
The Order of Merit (Ordre national du Mérite) was created in 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle. This Presidential award recognizes distinguished service to France, in the military as well as in the public and private sectors. It has three ranks --Chevalier, Officier, and Commandeur-- and two high offices (“dignités”) -- grand officier and grand croix.
The Order of Academic Palms
The Order of Academic Palms (Ordre des Palmes Académiques) was founded in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte who established the honorary titles of Titulaire, Officier de l'Université, and Officier d'Académie as awards for devotion and accomplishment in the areas of teaching, scholarship and research. Since being raised to the status of the Order under the Minister of Education in 1955, this award has three ranks Chevalier, Officier, and Commandeur. French citizens living abroad and foreign (non-French) nationals may receive this award for contributing significantly to furthering French intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements in the world.
The Order of Arts and Letters
The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The Order of Arts and Letters is given out three times annually under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Culture and Communication. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman.
Image: Jim Jarmusch and Antonin Baudry, June 23, 2011 © Clarisse Rebotier.
On June 4th, Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry honored Florence Almozini with a vibrant speech before conferring on her the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.
On Saturday, May 17, Judy Hussie-Taylor, Executive Director of Danspace Project, was honored with the insignia of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Antonin Baudry, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy.
On March 6, 2014, H. George Fletcher, a bibliophile who began collecting books at 15, was conferred the medal of chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry. The convivial occasion was held among family, friends, and colleagues in the Grolier Club’s Rare Book Room which features a permanent display of historic book bindings, including a work by Jean Grolier.
An especially joyous mood filled the reception hall where Tom Kaplan, Chairman of the 92Y, stood beside Ambassador François Delattre to receive the insignia of the Legion of Honor last March 5th, amidst family, friends, and colleagues. A keen entrepreneur who is passionate about affairs ranging from endangered animals to international relations, Mr. Kaplan spoke profoundly about some of these issues, including his close ties to France.
Francine LeFrak received the insignia of the Legion of Honor on November 26 at a ceremony held at the French Consulate. Ambassador François Delattre who presided at the ceremony, emphasized not only Ms. LeFrak’s distinguished work as an advocate for humanitarian causes but also her generosity toward French and American cultural endeavors.
On Thursday evening July 11, Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry bestowed the insignia of the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on American comic book writer and artist Matt Madden, in a ceremony held at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.
French and Francophile Stanford University Professors were decorated on June 28th, 2013, by the Consul General of France in San Fransciso. Marie-Pierre Ulloa received the insigna of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters, and Aron Rodrigue was decorated with the insigna of Chevalier in the Order of the Palmes Académiques.
Four remarkable educators deeply passionate about international collaboration received the insignia of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques on June 18th in a ceremony held at Yale University that was co-hosted by French Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry and Ian Shapiro, director of Yale's MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.
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