Natan Sharansky is a legendary figure who serves as an extraordinary emblem of the battle for freedom of Soviet Jews. Born in the Ukraine in 1948, Sharansky graduated from the Physical Technical Institute in Moscow with a degree in computer science. After being denied an exit visa to Israel in 1973, Sharansky became a human rights activist and was one of the founders of the Refusenik movement to earn freedom for Soviet Jews. Convicted in 1978 of treason, he was sentenced to 13 years in the notorious Gulag prison camp. After years of unsuccessful diplomatic efforts and public outcries, he was released in 1986 as part of the East-West prisoner exchange and immigrated to Israel.
Currently serving as the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Mr. Sharansky is a former member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), former Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister in four successive Israeli governments. He was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in 1986; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. Mr. Sharansky appeared as number eleven on the list of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people of 2005 in the "Scientists and Thinkers" category. He continues to lead human rights efforts through his writings and public activities.
His memoir, Fear No Evil, was published in the United States in 1988 and has been translated into nine languages. His New York Times bestseller, The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror attracted wide-spread attention. His latest book, Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy published in June 2008.
Celebrate the JCF Centennial and 20 years since Operation Exodus, a proud and historic moment in Jewish history.
This event is hosted in partnership with Hillel at Stanford