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Dr. Leonard S. Polonsky '42
Dr. Leonard S. Polonsky, a UK citizen, grew up in New York City, where he attended Townsend Harris High School. He received his BA degree at New York University, where he was President of the Student Council, officer of several clubs, and editor or the literary magazine. Following military service in 1945/46, he pursued graduate studies at Lincoln College, Oxford, and in Paris at the Sorbonne, where he received his doctorate in Lettres in 1952. He taught languages in Heidelberg for several years.
Before embarking upon his business career, Dr. Polonsky began working in financial services, in New York in 1955, followed by Rome, Frankfurt, and Zurich, eventually establishing Liberty Life Assurance Company Limited in London in 1970. He is Executive Chairman of Hansard Global plc, its successor, listed on the main board of the London Stock Exchange. The company has used advanced technology to manage its business and to expand internationally, and now has clients in 170 countries.
For many years Dr. Polonsky was President of the Aion Foundation, active internationally in the field of analytical psychology. Dr. Polonsky is a Trustee of the Polonsky Foundation in London, which supports charitable activity worldwide, a Trustee of the Polonsky Brothers Foundation in New York, which focuses on higher education for the urban poor. He is a member of the Board of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York and of the Harry S. Truman Research Center for the Advancement of Peace, in Jerusalem.
Dr. Polonsky is an Honorary Fellow and Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has been a Member of the Executive of the university’s British Friends since 1993.
The Polonsky Foundation has endowed projects at both Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well as at Townsend Harris High School. Other projects enable postgraduate students from overseas to reside at Lincoln College, Oxford, as guests of the Foundation. Polonsky Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers in the humanities and social sciences are available at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem.
The Polonsky Foundation is currently engaged with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a four-year educational program, “Exploring Shakespeare,” available via the internet.
Picture above left: Dr. Polonsky with his wife, Georgette Bennett.