Beyond FORTITUDE: Elie Wiesel
The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, established in the late 1980s by Wiesel and his wife, Marion, combats “indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.” In the U.S., the foundation sponsors an annual essay contest to encourage college juniors and seniors to address various aspects of contemporary forms of intolerance. Here and abroad, the foundation sponsors a Humanitarian Award for “outstanding individuals who dedicate their time to fighting indifference, intolerance and injustice.” In Israel, the foundation runs Beit Tzipora Centers for Study & Enrichment (named in memory of Elie Wiesel’s younger sister, who died in Auschwitz) that have given thousands of Ethiopian Jewish children the help they need to overcome obstacles they face in their early education.
Finally, the foundation has sponsored numerous international conferences designed to bring together Nobel Laureates and world leaders to discuss social problems and propose changes in the critical areas of peace, education, health, the environment, and terrorism.
In his spare time, Elie Wiesel is an incredibly prolific writer. I recently read his haunting “Perils of Indifference” speech that he presented at a White House symposium in 1999, and I’m looking forward to reading many more of his works, including his memoir. I hope others are, too.