AFJ to Honor Ambassador William vanden Heuvel with “Champion of Justice” Award

Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27 – Alliance for Justice is pleased to announce that it will honor Ambassador William vanden Heuvel with a Champion of Justice Award at its Champions for Justice dinner in New York on Wednesday, November 29.

“Bill vanden Heuvel is one of the original social justice warriors,” said Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice. “Throughout his long and colorful career, he has been at the forefront of fighting for the values we care about: justice, respect, and equal opportunity for all. I can think of no higher compliment to pay Bill than to say that he truly embodies the spirit and legacy of a great president whom he deeply admires, Franklin Roosevelt, whose memory Bill has honored with his extraordinary work on Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park.”

“I’m honored to receive this recognition from the Alliance for Justice, which is fighting to uphold critical rights that were hard-won over many decades,” said Ambassador vanden Heuvel. “Now more than ever, we all need to stand up for our belief in the essential dignity of all people. It is wonderful to receive an award from an organization that has always fought for equal justice for all, and I look forward to working alongside AFJ and its allies for years to come.”

Ambassador vanden Heuvel began his public career as Executive Assistant to William J. (Wild Bill) Donovan during General Donovan’s tenure as United States Ambassador to Thailand. By appointment of President Carter, vanden Heuvel served as Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as U.S. Permanent Representative to the European office of the UN.

In 1958, Ambassador vanden Heuvel was appointed Special Counsel to New York State Governor Averell Harriman. He then served as Assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, where he had a significant role in establishing the Prince Edward County Free Schools during the civil rights crisis in Virginia. He was elected Vice President to the New York State Constitutional Convention and served as Chair of the Drafting Committee of the proposed constitution in 1967. By appointment of the Mayor of New York, John Lindsay, Ambassador vanden Heuvel became Chair of the New York City Board of Correction where he led the prison reform movement at a time when the city prisons were brutally overcrowded. He worked closely with the state and federal courts to restore order to the criminal justice system.

Ambassador vanden Heuvel also had a distinguished tenure representing the United States at the United Nations, serving as U.S. Ambassador to the European office of the United Nations in Geneva and as Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations during the Carter Administration.

Ambassador vanden Heuvel is Founder and Chair Emeritus of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy which built the Memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, designed by Louis Kahn, on Roosevelt Island. He is Senior Advisor at Allen and Company, Co-Chair of the Council of American Ambassadors and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a graduate of Deep Springs College, Cornell University, and Cornell Law School where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Cornell Law Review.