On October 3, 2017, Claude Wasserstein was awarded the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honor at a ceremony held at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Ambassador Gérard Araud, who presided at the ceremony, highlighted Ms. Wasserstein’s notable philanthropic contributions in both the United States and France. Ms. Wasserstein, who formerly worked as a journalist and a CBS news producer, sits on various charitable boards and has spearheaded many of her own initiatives aimed at enhancing various communities.
As French Ambassador to the United States, it is my honor to welcome you here as we gather to bestow the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor upon a noted champion and benefactor of many causes dear to France and the United States, Madame Claude Wasserstein.
The National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest award bestowed by the French government. Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the award recognizes significant achievement in the military, as well as in the public and private sectors.
For many years, Claude Wasserstein has made notable contributions to the philanthropic community. In her works, she has supported the causes of many organizations and charities and served as an inspiration to others involved in community service. A thoroughly global citizen, Claude Wasserstein has also demonstrated a strong commitment to international and Franco-American relations and has consistently served as a bridge between our two cultures. We are extremely pleased to recognize her outstanding achievements, which have been profoundly charitable and have served to foster dialogue between France and the United States.
Dear Claude Wasserstein:
Throughout the years, you have been an advocate for cultural understanding. Born and raised in France, you came to the United States to attend Sweet Briar College in Virginia, where you studied art history. Later, you returned to Paris to attend graduate school at the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre. Those who know you well know that you’re insatiably curious about the world, and have toured the globe not only as a journalist but as an explorer: being an avid world traveler, you have also lived in in London, Dubai, and Belfast, and you are skilled in several languages. Your adventurous nature and cosmopolitanism is a gene you have passed on to your children, and you remain true to your French roots, often visiting France with your family. In your life and travels, you have always expressed a deep understanding and appreciation of both French and American culture.
Both the U.S. and France are profoundly lucky to have someone like you who is so devoted to supporting charitable efforts in the community. You are an active participant in fundraising events for organizations such as WNET- Channel 13, the Brookings Institution, the Metropolitan Museum International Council, the Center for American Progress, the Child Mind Institute, and the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creative Ability. You are well-known within the philanthropic community as one who is firmly dedicated to each cause you pursue. Indeed, you are a role model for those around you. One of your longest standing charitable engagements is with the American Hospital of Paris Foundation, where you have been elected as Vice President and Co-Chair. Founded in 1906, the American Hospital of Paris represents the long-lasting friendship between France and the United States, and has formed a unique alliance between our two countries.
In addition to these initiatives, you have been an advocate for the importance of family relationships. In 2008, noticing an unfortunate trend of families in New York to not share meals and spend quality time together, you co-founded a unique project called Susie’s Supper Club, delivering meals to families in New York. The company hired chefs from the French Culinary Institute, now known as the International Culinary Center. In the spirit of charity, the company also provided food and services to fundraising events for organizations such as the Central Park Conservatory, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the New York University Child Study Center. The creation of Susie’s Supper Club represents your family-oriented values and your enthusiasm to better the lives of those around you.
But your achievements do not end there. We must also recognize your accomplishments as a television producer at CBS News, where you distinguished yourself with your impressive work. For instance, in 1993, your documentary Bad Medicine, featured on the CBS broadcast “48 Hours,” was the winner of an Emmy Award for investigative journalism. You also worked as a journalist for Newsweek, where you took an interest in Franco-American relations. During this time, you traveled all around the world, and strengthened your deep understanding of international affairs.
More recently, your career has taken you into the world of finance as an angel investor. You bring a journalistic eye to your business ventures, as you investigate the best approach to a problem and analyze the expertise needed to advise on options or solutions, all the while framing your work as a story in line with a company’s narrative. You manage venture capital and seed investing in over forty-five companies, some of which are focused on French technology and its relation to American startups. Once again, you have showcased your dedication to supporting the relationship between France and the United States.
Throughout your career, you have acted as a liaison between our two cultures and demonstrated an unwavering commitment to your charitable causes. It is thanks to your generosity that countless organizations have been able to thrive. In France, the United States, and beyond, you have made a profound impact upon the lives of many. For these reasons, it is my great privilege to now bestow upon you the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
Au nom du Président de la République et en vertu des pouvoirs qui me sont conférés, je vous fais chevalier de L’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur.