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FAU honors an ‘unsung hero’

12/21/2015

FAU honors an ‘unsung hero’

Today I had the privilege of presenting an honorary doctorate to a truly great American. In 1978, when President Jimmy Carter sought to open peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt, he needed the assistance of someone who could go through “back door channels” to reach the heads of those states: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Leon Charney, a lawyer and businessman, had the right connections, and he didn’t hesitate to use them. His efforts led directly to the historic Camp David Accords, which established the peaceful relationship between Israel and Egypt that endures to this day.

President Carter called Mr. Charney the “unsung hero” of that turning point in history, and for decades the critically important behind-the-scenes role he played was unknown. To shine a light on all Mr. Charney did for the cause of peace, Dr. Jeffrey Morton, professor of political science and director of FAU’s outstanding Diplomacy Program, nominated him for an honorary doctorate, a proposal that was unanimously approved by our Board of Trustees.

I’m especially glad that many of Dr. Morton’s students were in attendance at today’s ceremony, getting the opportunity to meet a man who has shown unequivocally that one person can make a huge difference in the world.

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