On behalf of French President François Hollande and his government, outgoing French Consul General Hervé Magro presented PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi with the distinguished French decoration, “d’Officier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur,” yesterday evening at the Mahmoud Darwish Museum in Ramallah.
Consul General Magro presented a brief history of the medal itself and explained that Napoléon Bonaparte established the award in 1802 to honor civilians and soldiers for their achievements. Consul General Magro detailed the reasons why France decided to present Dr. Ashrawi with the decoration, and in his speech, he commended her for her work in the academic and cultural fields, as well as her struggle for human rights and women’s rights, her career in politics and peacemaking and her contributions to civil society and nation-building in Palestine.
In the presence of public officials, academics, civil society leaders, colleagues and loved ones, Dr. Ashrawi expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the French for the honor and said, “Indeed, this is a very humbling experience, and I am deeply and warmly touched. It is quite empowering and heartwarming, and I will try to rise to the challenge and be worthy of it.”
In her acceptance speech, Dr. Ashrawi also bid farewell to outgoing Consul General Magro and thanked him for his tireless efforts in defending Palestinian human rights and working to achieve Palestinian independence and freedom. She also congratulated Consul General Magro on receiving the “Star of Jerusalem” medal that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas bestowed on him: “Hervé has been recognized not just as a diplomat, but as a person with vision and dedication.”