Douglas, Sharansky to Embark on Campus Tour
Renowned actor and the second recipient of Israel’s Genesis Prize, Michael Douglas is set to appear on three US university campuses in the coming two weeks to speak with students about Israel and anti-Semitism, the Genesis Prize Foundation announced on Wednesday.
Douglas was awarded the 2015 Genesis Prize, a $1 million prize awarded annually to a renowned individual, in recognition of his decades-long career as an actor and producer, his work as a peace activist, and his unwavering support of Israel. The first awardee was former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg. Both Douglas and Bloomberg chose to defer their prize award, so the funds could be channeled to philanthropic causes of significance to them; Douglas is promoting engagement of intermarried families in Jewish life, and Bloomberg’s award was used to fund a competition to support ideas from young entrepreneurs to better the world.
Douglas will be joined by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky at Brown University on January 28, Stanford University on February 2, and the University of California at Santa Barbara on February 3. The program is named “Jewish Journeys: A Conversation with Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky,” as the two respected men will address Israel, growing anti-Semitism, as well as tolerance and inclusion in the Jewish community worldwide, according to the news release.
“This is the first time, in this current period of heightened anti-Israel activity on campus, that a Hollywood celebrity has offered to join with a world Jewish leader to visit US college campuses and speak with students about Israel and the Jewish people,” Genesis Prize Foundation Co-Founder and Chairman Stan Polovets said in a statement. “At a time when certain individuals and groups in the academic community as well as other forces are making sustained efforts to delegitimize Israel, these visits are particularly important and timely.”
The program is co-hosted by Hillel International, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, operating on more than 550 campuses around the world.
“I was honored to receive the Genesis Prize last year, and it has encouraged me to deepen my commitment and belief that we must all be more inclusive in order that the Jewish faith and culture thrive,” Douglas said in a statement highlighted in the announcement. “These visits provide an opportunity for Natan and me to speak directly with young people about the challenges they encounter, and share insight about how we have dealt with these situations throughout our life.”
Added Sharansky, “At a time when the new and old forms of anti-Semitism are coming together to undermine Israel’s legitimacy and drive Jews apart from their Jewish identities and from one another, it is crucial that we emphasize the connection between our devotion to human rights, our commitment to peace, and our dedication to strengthening the unity of the Jewish people.”