Institute News

Steven Spielberg and USC Shoah Foundation Institute honor Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Bob Iger's Acceptance Speech for the 2012 AFH Award

Language: English

On June 6, Steven Spielberg, Founder of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, presented Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, with the Institute’s highest honor, the Ambassador for Humanity Award. Iger was honored at the Institute’s annual gala, where he was recognized for his support of the Institute’s work, his longtime philanthropy, and his leadership role in corporate citizenship. The gala presenting sponsor was jcpenny. Jimmy Kimmel hosted, and Mary J. Blige gave a special musical performance.

“Bob Iger is one of the good guys, who leads and inspires at the same time,” Spielberg said. “Bob was one of the first visitors to the Shoah Foundation in 1995, shortly after it was established. He didn’t hesitate to support us as we raced against time to videotape the eyewitnesses before it was too late. Now, his ongoing commitment is helping us bring the messages of the Visual History Archive to young people worldwide.”

“Bob Iger is a corporate citizen of the highest order, and we are honored to recognize him as our Ambassador for Humanity,” Stephen D. Smith, the Institute’s Executive Director, said. “His ongoing support, and that of The Walt Disney Company, is a great boost to our efforts as we engage students emotionally and cognitively with the testimonies. The good news is that we are finding a shift in attitudes and beliefs about how to treat others, which gives us hope that the testimonies, through this visual medium, can have a transformative effect on perceptions and actions.”

"It is truly an honor to recognize Robert A. Iger, a venerated member of USC's Trojan Family," said C. L. Max Nikias, President of the University of Southern California.  "Mr. Iger is a distinguished executive in the entertainment industry, as well as a visionary leader who shares USC’s commitment to education and to young people.  He remains an exemplary role model for all USC students."

Established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest digital video libraries in the world: nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries. The Institute is part of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California; its mission is to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry—and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies.

The Institute works within the University, and with partners around the world, to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. The Institute is now working with partner organizations to expand the archive with accounts of survivors and witnesses of other genocides.

Playlist Reference: 
2012 Ambassadors for Humanity Gala honoring Bob Iger