Arthur Schneier is internationally known for his leadership on behalf of religious freedom, human rights and tolerance with specific interest in China, Russia, Central Europe and the Balkans. Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (1965) and spiritual leader of New York’s Park East Synagogue (1962), he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for “his service as an international envoy for four administrations” and as a Holocaust survivor, “devoting a lifetime to overcoming forces of hatred and intolerance.”
A U.S. Alternate Representative to the U.N. General Assembly and Chairman of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, he was one of three American religious leaders appointed by President Clinton to start the first dialogue on religious freedom with President Jiang Zemin and other top Chinese leaders (1998.) Rabbi Schneier initiated the Resolution for the Protection of Religious Sites, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly (2001.) and was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Stockholm International Forum for the Prevention of Genocide, Sweden (2004.) Recently, he was appointed to the High-Level Group, Alliance of Civilizations, by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, a distinguished group whose goal is to bridge divisions between societies exploited by extremists and among societies in which prejudices, misconceptions and polarizations threaten international stability and peaceful relations.
Ordained by Yeshiva University he is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and its Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative launched in 2006, and the Asia Society.
Born in Vienna, Austria, March 20, 1930, Rabbi Schneier lived under Nazi occupation in Budapest during World War II and arrived in the United States in 1947. He is married to Elisabeth Nordmann Schneier.