Carnegie Corporation President Receives Medal
At a luncheon celebration held at the Palacio de Belem, the presidential palace in Lisbon, Portugal, on November 16, 1998, President Jorge Sampio of the Republic of Portugal honored Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, with the Grû-Cruz da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique — the highest medal of the Order of Henry the Navigator. The award is given in recognition of those who have promoted Portuguese culture and contributed to United States–Portuguese relations.
The award is the second honoring Gregorian for his activities on behalf of the Portuguese nation. In 1995, then-president of Portugal Mario Soares, presented Gregorian, at that time president of Brown University and professor of history, with the Grand-Oficial da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, also in recognition of his activities on behalf of Portuguese–American friendship and Portuguese culture. The award was presented at a ceremony on January 9 at the presidential palace.
Vartan Gregorian is a long-standing friend of Portugal. Among his various services to the country, he established the Department of Portuguese–Brazilian Studies while president of Brown University from 1989 to 1997. As a member of the board of Human Rights Watch and of the Committee on Academic Freedom, he has worked tirelessly to improve human rights in East Timor.
Both events in 1995 and 1998 were organized in Gregorian's honor. "What came as a complete surprise to me was the medals. I had no idea the Portuguese government had such a thing in mind," Gregorian said. "Just two days ago, a representative of the Portuguese government delivered the most recent medal to me in person in New York. I am most grateful to President Sampio for bestowing this signal honor upon me."