Legacy of interfaith pioneer Sir Sigmund Sternberg honoured with year of events

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Legacy of interfaith pioneer Sir Sigmund Sternberg honoured with year of events

Centenary of the philanthropist's birth in 1921 will be marked with a series of prestigious awards and lectures

Sir Sigmund Sternberg
Sir Sigmund Sternberg

The legacy of interfaith pioneer Sir Sigmund Sternberg will be honoured with a series of lectures and awards to mark the centenary of his birth.

Over the next 12 months, events will honour the elderly who make an outstanding contribution to society, and people of different faiths who work to bring people together.

Born in June 1921 in Budapest, ‘Sigi’ as he was affectionately known, escaped the Nazis in 1939 and settled in England, where he had a successful career in scrap metal and property.  He also dedicated his life to promoting understanding between religious groups,  including arranging the first ever Papal visit to a Synagogue in 1986.

His son, Michael Sternberg QC, said his father “was a hugely unusual high-achieving man who could never be still for a moment and who right up until his death in 2016 was full of incessant bubbling ideas of how to solve the problems minorities face and remove religious discrimination.”

Remembering his “wry sense of humour”, Sir Sigmund “passionately believed in the importance of dialogue backed up with actions”.

To honour the centenary, the Sir Sigmund Sternberg Charitable Foundation (SSCF) will hold the annual Times/Sternberg Active Life Awards, which the philanthropist founded; honouring the contribution of older people to society. It will also hold the inaugural memorial lecture in his name in Autumn, and present an Interfaith Gold Medallion.

As well as his work in the interfaith sphere, he was an active Labour donor, including for Clement Attlee’s 1945 government, and was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize, presented to him by Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace.

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