FAU Receives $1 Million Gift to Name the Leon Charney Diplomacy Program

BOCA RATON, Fla. (March 28, 2017) – Florida Atlantic University has received a $1 million gift from the family of Leon Charney to name the Leon Charney Diplomacy Program within FAU’s Peace Justice and Human Rights Initiative.

The gift will allow for the creation of three Leon Charney Scholarships each fall and spring semester, as well as expand the existing Diplomacy Program to create an Undergraduate Honors Program (UHP) delegation, and expand to create a FAU High School delegation.  The UHP and FAU High students will be trained in their own class and will compete in nationals in Washington, D.C. each fall.

“Tzili Charney is dedicated to keeping her beloved husband’s legacy alive through education and awareness. Her work in Israel in this regard is transformative – and her commitment to supporting our work at FAU will also be transformative,” said Heather Coltman, DMA, dean of FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. “Her extraordinary generosity, passion and commitment are a gift to all of us.”

Charney was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from FAU in December 2015 in recognition of his lifelong commitment to peace through diplomacy.

A prominent lawyer, author and broadcaster, as well as a former advisor to notable statesmen including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli President Ezer Weizman, Charney passed away in March 2016. 

“For Leon, communication was key. Keep all channels open and never miss an opportunity for dialogue,” said Tzili Charney. “I would like for all young people to be inspired and to find their own key.”

FAU’s Diplomacy Program was established in 1996 by Jeffery Morton, Ph.D., professor of political science in FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. The program offers students opportunities to enhance their diplomatic skills in areas such as speech writing, public speaking, negotiation, dispute resolution and research. Participants take part in diplomatic competitions that provide simulations of major international organizations in New York City and Washington, D.C. For the past 10 years, the delegation has received top honors at the National Model United Nations simulation.

 “I cannot imagine a greater honor than for the FAU Diplomacy Program to be associated with Leon Charney and his legacy of diplomatic excellence,” Morton said.

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About Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Metcalf561-297-3022, lmetcalf@fau.edu