The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity honored Laura Bush with its Humanitarian Award on October 7, 2002 at a dinner ceremony held at The Plaza in New York City. Mrs. Bush received the award for recognition of her life-long commitment to education.
"We are especially proud to honor Mrs. Bush with our Humanitarian Award for her generous and continuous contributions to education in America She has urged more Americans to become teachers and more parents to prepare young children to learn in school," commented Elie Wiesel, co-founder with his wife, Marion, of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. "She has worked to help children to obtain enough self-confidence to enrich their lives, to the great benefit of our society."
Through her national initiative called Ready to Read, Ready to Learn, Mrs. Bush has constantly stressed American children's literary needs. Her involvement in education and reading began in her youngest years and guided her to a career as a Texas public school teacher and librarian.
"The most important gift we can give all children is the gift most likely to lead to peace and prosperity - and that is the gift of a good education," Mrs. Bush said. "Children who are educated have greater self-respect for others, and a far greater chance of success."
James Earl Jones served as Master of Ceremonies for the Award Dinner, which included performances by the Boys Choir of Harlem. Award Dinner Chairman Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of the Publicis Groupe, S.A. summed up the significance of the night's affair by saying, "I am very proud that our group has been associated with this initiative. Education is the most precious asset we can transmit to future generations to build the future."