New York, NY, November 10, 2022... Dr. Albert Bourla, the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer who led the effort to successfully develop and deploy the COVID-19 vaccine while courageously speaking out against disinformation and hate, today was presented with the ADL’s highest honor, the Courage Against Hate Award. Dr. Bourla accepted the award during the closing session of ADL’s Never is Now Summit Against Antisemitism and Hate, held at the Javits Center in New York City.
“Throughout history, when people are angry or afraid, they look for someone to blame, and the pandemic was no different,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, in presenting the award. “Dr. Bourla could have simply ignored these campaigns of disinformation and hate, but instead, he courageously spoke out. He pushed back against the conspiracy theories aimed at undermining public trust in the vaccine, and clearly denounced the odious Holocaust comparisons. And he encouraged public education efforts to counter the dangerous lies.”
Greenblatt credited Dr. Bourla for his leadership throughout the pandemic, recognizing early on that Pfizer had a humanitarian responsibility to step up during the COVID crisis and then taking great risks as the company pursued the breakthroughs that enabled it to deliver a safe and effective vaccine in just eight months – a process that typically takes years.
Dr. Bourla is the son of Holocaust survivors from Greece. He is proud of his Jewish identity and heritage and has supported the building of a Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki, Greece, to help preserve the memory of the once thriving Jewish community in his family’s hometown – a community that was decimated during World War II.
In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Bourla noted that everyone has an obligation to do their part to fight antisemitism, as well as indifference and complacency in the face of false information. He also issued a clarion call for rebuilding trust in science based on facts and data-driven conversations. “It’s clear that disinformation is still wreaking havoc on society today and threatening the principles for which this organization stands,” Dr. Bourla said. “The hatred and ignorance that it creates prevents us from seeing one another as people, as individuals with lives that deserve to be protected.”
ADL established the Courage Against Hate Award to recognize courageous and visionary leaders from the private sector who are dedicated to fighting hate for good, boldly use their personal and professional brands to that end and inspire others to actively work to make the world a better place.
Past Courage Against Hate Award recipients include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Chobani CEO and Founder Hamdi Ulukaya, Merck & Co. Executive Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier, and L’Oreal Chairman Jean-Paul Agon.
ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.