Steven Spielberg, founder of USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education, will present William Clay Ford, Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, with the Institute’s Ambassador for Humanity Award at the organization’s annual gala, taking place this year in Detroit on Sept. 10.
Ford will be recognized for his leadership and corporate citizenry around education and community. Mickey Shapiro, real estate developer and longstanding member of the Institute’s Board of Councilors, is the event’s co-chairman. The gala vice chairs and benefit committee will comprise leaders from the local community and from around the nation.
The September gala will provide the opportunity to highlight the Institute’s global work in making the 53,000 audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides in its Visual History Archive a compelling voice for education and action.
USC Shoah Foundation has a long history in Michigan and with Ford Motor Company, which was the sole sponsor of the 1997 NBC broadcast of the Academy Award® winning “Schindler’s List,”‘ the film that inspired the establishment of the Institute. The Institute collected 335 testimonies with Holocaust survivors and witnesses in the Detroit area, with local videographers and interviewers specially trained for the job.
The Visual History Archive is also available on two campuses in Michigan, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and University of Michigan – Flint.
The event will also shine a light on the emerging partnership between USC Shoah Foundation and Ford Motor Company to expand the Institute’s IWitness educational platform in the Detroit area. IWitness brings the first-person stories of survivors and witnesses of genocide from the Institute’s Visual History Archive to students via multimedia-learning activities that are accessible via Macs, PCs, iPads, and tablet devices connected to the Internet.
Currently, 100 educators in Michigan – and over 6,500 globally – use IWitness. In addition, more than 250 educators in Michigan, and over 15,000 nationally, have been trained on Echoes and Reflections, a multimedia Holocaust curriculum developed by the Institute and partners, the Anti-Defamation League and Yad Vashem.
A significant portion of the proceeds raised at the gala will remain in the region, where the funds will be utilized for educational programs in secondary schools.
Steven Spielberg, founder of USC Shoah Foundation and chairman of the Ambassadors gala said, “Working with Bill Ford and Ford Motor Company to further explore ways to share the work of the Institute with the people of Michigan is a wonderful opportunity. Reaching people when they’re young is the key to changing the world with testimony. IWitness and its ability to deliver tolerance education to the Detroit region gives me great hope that together we can affect significant change. The commitment of Bill Ford and Ford Motor Company to support new approaches to learning, to provide scholarships, and to help deserving students attain higher education, makes him a great ambassador, and I am proud to recognize him for his efforts.”
“The USC Shoah Foundation stands as an enormous point of pride for USC, and has seen its efforts advanced greatly through the support of individuals and organizations that recognize its value as a truly transformational tool for education. Mr. Ford is a visionary leader who understands the contribution that USC Shoah Foundation makes to the world, and we are honored to recognize him for his corporate citizenry and leadership,” said University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias.
“I am so pleased that USC Shoah Foundation will be joining forces with Ford Motor Company and the local Detroit community to explore new ways to utilize IWitness as an educational tool, and endeavor to reach a growing number of educators and students across the Detroit region,” said USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen D. Smith.