Washington DC, 18 September 2017 – Last week, Jesuit Refugee
Service USA was recognized by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
with the Anne Frank Award. The award is given to an American person or
organization who has demonstrated a body of work which confronts intolerance,
anti-Semitism, racism or discrimination, while upholding freedom and equal
JRS is being honored for its work improving access to
education for refugees and others affected by war and conflict. JRS serves
families and children in traditional pre-primary, primary, secondary, and
tertiary education programs, but also works to provide better access to formal,
informal skill-building, and vocational training programs for refugee children,
youth, and adults. JRS’s education programs also feature critical elements
including complementary programs for parents and families, teacher training and
language skills. JRS currently provides educational services in 42 countries.
JRS provides education to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their
race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.
Senator Patick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the event said "we must stand
up, we must speak out for refugees," and thanked JRS/USA for doing so.
Ambassador Henne Schuwer who presented the award also remarked that as a
refugee herself, Anne Frank understood the importance of education in
hope for the future.
The award was introduced by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and
accepted on behalf of JRS USA by our Director of Mission Father Leo J.
O’Donovan. In his remarks, Fr. O’Donovan quoted a passage from The Diary of Anne Frank: “Everyone has inside of him a piece
of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How
much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”
“This, I think, is Anne Frank’s message, as a refugee, to the
refugees of the world today – ‘our refugees,’” said Fr. O’Donovan. “JRS’s focus
on education is an expression of our mission to recognize on the dignity of each person, or as
Anne so eloquently put it our ‘piece of the good news.’”
We are so honored to accept this award and thank the Embassy
of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and humbled to be recognized in Anne Frank’s
In gratitude for this
honor, JRS USA is proud to announce an essay contest in collaboration with the
Embassy of the Netherlands, the Jesuit Schools Network, and America Media