New York, NY, November 10, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has honored German automaker Volkswagen AG in recognition of the company's efforts to promote anti-bias and diversity education and for serving as a model for good corporate citizenship.
"Volkswagen has played a pre-eminent role at the forefront of German industry and commerce and has been a major trendsetter, serving as a model for other German companies to follow and emulate," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said in bestowing the award. "But just as importantly from our perspective, Volkswagen has been bold and unflinching in its efforts to come to terms with its historical and moral obligations and its forward-looking global commitment to social justice and responsibility."At an event in Manhattan earlier this week, the League presented Christian Klingler, Member of the Board of Volkswagen AG, with the League's distinguishedInternational Leadership Award in recognition of the automaker's efforts to improve the lives of people in the countries and communities where the group operates. Also attending the ceremony was Jonathan Browning, President & CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, and diplomatic representatives of more than 80 nations.
Volkswagen this week announced a $1 million donation to ADL to support comprehensive diversity and anti-bias education programs. "It is truly an honor and privilege for me to stand before you here tonight to accept this award on behalf of Volkswagen," said Mr. Klingler. "When we say that our commitment does not end at the factory gates, we really mean it. Each day, we strive to live up to the high standards that we set for being a good corporate citizen and positive force for change in the world."
With headquarters in Wolfsburg, the Volkswagen Group is one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. Volkswagen has approximately 4,000 employees in the United States and has invested $4 billion domestically, including the construction of a $1 billion assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN.
Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, noted that early on Volkswagen "looked at itself in the mirror" in providing restitution to those Holocaust survivors who suffered as slave laborers during World War II. "But it has also looked at the future, being the first major German company to invest in Israel," he added.
The event also included a keynote speech from Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, as well as remarks from Peter Ammon, the German Ambassador to Washington, who said relations between Germany and the U.S. "have never been better."
Past recipients of the ADL International Leadership Award include K. Rupert Murdoch of News Corp., Cees Van Der Hoeven of Royal Ahold, Neville Isdell of Coca-Cola, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones of L'Oreal, and Maurice Levy of Publicis.