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Holocaust museum honors three Chicago execs

“It’s inspiring see how so many people are working fight injustice improve lives people worldwide” says Neil Bluhm.

“It’s inspiring to see how so many people are working to fight injustice and improve the lives of people worldwide,” says Neil Bluhm.

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When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker

Tickets: $350

Info: (847) 967-4852; www.

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Updated: May 18, 2012 2:26PM

On Tuesday night, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will host its annual Humanitarian Awards dinner to honor Neil Bluhm, president, JMB Realty Corp.; Don Thompson, president and COO, McDonald’s Corp., and Rick Waddell, chairman and CEO, Northern Trust, for outstanding civic leadership and support of the IHMEC. Neil Bluhm tells Cause & Event about what guests can expect at Tuesday’s event.

Q. Neil, congratulations on being honored at the Humanitarian Awards. What can you tell us about the cause and its importance to our community?

A. I’ve been a strong advocate for Holocaust education for a long time. It’s critical for people of all ages to learn about and understand what transpired in the past, so that this kind of atrocity never happens again. The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is carrying out that mission through its educational programs and its work with school groups, with about 100,000 children visiting the museum annually.

Q. What’s in store at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center this year?

A. The museum plans to feature a variety of special exhibitions such as “Ours to Fight For,” in June, which explores and celebrates the achievements of Jewish men and women and other ethnic minorities who were part of the American war effort on and off the battlefield. Later in the year, the museum will host “Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America,” an exhibition that illustrates the challenge of securing our nation without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded.

Q. What can we expect at this year’s Humanitarian Awards dinner?

A. I’m looking forward to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ keynote address. His expertise on global policy, especially with regard to the Middle East, will be enlightening to us all. The dinner will provide a great opportunity to celebrate with my fellow Humanitarian Award recipients Rick Waddell and Don Thompson. Our good friend Michael Rubinstein will be receiving the Community Leadership Award for his years of service to the museum. Shelley Nizynski Reese, founder of A Better Life for Kids, will be awarded the museum’s inaugural Power of One Award for her work to improve the lives of children in Ghana. It’s inspiring to see how so many people are working to fight injustice and improve the lives of people worldwide.


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