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France names Serageldin a Knight of the French Legion of Honor
Cairo, 24 November 2008  -- On behalf of the President of France, French Ambassador to Egypt, Mr. Jean Felix-Pagnon, decorated Serageldin with the insignia of Knight of the French Legion of Honor, in recognition of his outstanding role as visionary and humanist, as promoter of Franco-Egyptian cooperation, as ardent advocate of the dialogue of civilizations, and in admiration of the brilliant success of the New Library of Alexandria, as a place for the promotion of human rights, tolerance, pluralism, science, and dialogue between cultures.

In his acceptance speech, Serageldin expressed his gratitude for the great distinction conferred to him in this award, which was established by Napoleon in 1802 as an order of merit , and which was the only insignia worn by Napoleon for the rest of his life.

Serageldin said that today, more than ever, we must confront the currents of fanaticism, obscurantism and xenophobia . . . , we must defend rationality, human rights and freedom of thought and expression, we must defend a conception of the true universal culture, with its rich diversity and its continual development . . . all of which is embodied in the project of the revival of the Library of Alexandria.

The French Legion of Honor is the highest decoration of France and is awarded for excellent civil or military conduct.

 
 
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