Eisenhower Fellowships honors Steven Spielberg with 2024 Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service

Celebrated filmmaker to receive prestigious award in Philadelphia for his extraordinary artistic contributions to global understanding.

PHILADELPHIAFeb. 21, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Eisenhower Fellowships will award its highest honor, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service, to legendary film director Steven Spielberg for his extraordinary artistic achievements in presenting America’s culture and history to the world and his enormous contributions to advancing global understanding.

The Chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships (EF), former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert M. Gates, will present the prestigious medal to Spielberg at the organization’s 2024 Annual Awards Dinner on May 15 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

“Few people embody President Eisenhower’s ideals in their life’s work more than Steven Spielberg,” Dr. Gates said. “He has used the magic of movies to present the face of an open-hearted America to the world, helping build bridges of trust and understanding across borders and cultures.”

As a storied writer, director and producer, Spielberg has brought to the screen an unrivalled number of box-office blockbusters, poignant dramas, swashbuckling adventures and epic depictions of World War II. Seven of his 29 films are cited as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

Many of Spielberg’s films and creative productions resonate deeply with the values and ethos of the 70-year-old nonprofit institution, Gates said, because of their relevance to the organization’s namesake: Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, about the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Allied push towards Nazi Germany, which Eisenhower commanded; Schindler’s List about the Nazi death camps that Eisenhower’s forces eventually liberated, and Bridge of Spies, which tells the little-known tale of the aftermath of the Soviet shootdown of a U.S. spy plane in 1960 while Eisenhower was president.

Mr. Spielberg, the son of a World War II U.S. Army Air Corps veteran and the recipient of numerous awards over his six-decade career, has devoted much of his time and resources to many philanthropic causes. After directing Schindler’s List, he used all his profits from the film to found the Righteous Persons Foundation, and soon afterwards what is known today as the USC Shoah Foundation—The Institute for Visual History and Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Jewish memory that has recorded more than 55,000 stories of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides.

In 2021 Mr. Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, launched The Hearthland Foundation, a philanthropic fund to help build a more just, equitable and connected America. Hearthland is founded on the belief that creating a better shared future for our country calls for relationships that cross divides and the moral imagination of what is possible. The foundation focuses on building a shared democracy, telling and honest and generative narrative about the United States and fostering a culture of accompaniment.

The Eisenhower Medal, established in 1988 by EF’s Board of Trustees, is awarded annually to a distinguished states person, business leader or other public figure who has achieved, through direct person-to-person international dialogue, advances toward President Eisenhower’s goal of peace, prosperity and justice.

Previous Medal recipients include late U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; General Colin L. Powell; U.S. Senators George MitchellSam Nunn and John McCain; former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Henry Kissinger; businesswoman and philanthropist Melinda French Gates; Doctors Without Borders; former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman; Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford; Washington Post Publisher Katherine GrahamSusan and David Eisenhower; and former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, among others.

Founded as a birthday present to President Eisenhower during his first year in the White House, Eisenhower Fellowships brings together diverse, innovative leaders from all fields from around the globe to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since its founding in 1953, more than 2.500 mid-career leaders from 115 countries have benefitted from the unique, customized experience of an Eisenhower Fellowship.

Learn more about the 2024 Annual Events and register here.

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