Jay Leno Returns to Israel to Host the 2015 Genesis Prize Ceremony


NEW YORK – The Genesis Prize Foundation announced today that Jay Leno will return to Israel and serve as Master of Ceremonies for the second annual Genesis Prize Award Ceremony on June 18, 2015, when this $1 million Prize will be awarded to Michael Douglas. Jay Leno hosted last year’s ceremony, when philanthropist, entrepreneur and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg received the inaugural award. Jay Leno’s career in show business has spanned over 45 years; 22 of which he spent hosting NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, a post he left in February 2014.

“I’m thrilled to host the Genesis Prize Award Ceremony for the second year in a row, and to return to Israel, a country and a people that welcomed me with such warmth last summer,” remarked Leno. “It will be an honor to serve as host when Michael Douglas receives this prestigious award.” The upcoming 2015 Ceremony will be composed of three elements: a tribute to the Laureate, a celebration of the contribution of Jews to Hollywood and Broadway, and a segment on inclusion, diversity and tolerance – the main theme of the Genesis Prize Foundation’s activities this year. Michael Douglas has announced earlier that he plans to contribute his $1 M prize to projects that promote and encourage inclusiveness in the Jewish community.

“The program this year will be unique and represent the special nature of this Prize,” said Stan Polovets, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “In creating this award, we have chosen to annually combine the exceptional profile of the Laureate with an important issue which is of concern to the Jewish people and will resonate with unaffiliated young adults. Michael Douglas has chosen to invest the Prize award into initiatives which will resonate with Jews like himself – those who come from parents of mixed heritage who wish to be part of the Jewish community. We are delighted Jay Leno, a true friend of Israel, will join us for the ceremony and attract attention to our mission. He is one of the most remarkable entertainers of our time and an exceptional human being.” Michael Douglas is the winner of two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes and an Emmy, and has created an unforgettable body of work that challenges and educates as well as entertains. He is also known for his passionate advocacy as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, focusing on human rights, gun violence prevention, and nuclear anti-proliferation work. “

After 22 years of hearing Jay poke fun of my movies on The Tonight Show, it'll be a nice change to be there when he does it in person,” said Michael Douglas. “The city of Jerusalem is pleased to welcome Jay Leno back for the second annual Genesis Prize Award Ceremony in June,” commented Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem. “It was our great pleasure to share the wonder and beauty of our city with this great friend of Jerusalem and Israel last year, and we look forward to welcoming him back this summer.”

About the Genesis Prize The Genesis Prize is an annual award honoring individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel.