France bestows prestigious honor on Chicago native

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The Republic of France has promoted Chicagoan Dr. Carla Knorowski to the rank of officer in its National Order of Merit (L’Ordre National Du Mérite). The award was bestowed upon Knorowski by Yannick Tagand, French consul general of the Midwest in Chicago, in early October.

Knorowski, who is of Italian descent on her mother’s side, distinguished herself in the wake of the catastrophic fire that swept through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 2019. She organized a global virtual fundraising event that rallied the support of cellist and one-time Paris resident Yo-Yo Ma, actress Glenn Close, filmmaker Ken Burns and journalist Scott Simon, among others. Knorowski continues to work with the French and American directors of the Friends of Notre Dame to raise funds for the cathedral’s restoration.

Knorowski also has worked with the Paris-Chicago Sister Cities Committee to raise funds to cast and erect a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Paris. A noted Lincoln scholar, she has written two books about America’s 16th president.

She has also traveled more than 89,000 miles en route to visiting all the cities, villages and towns in the world named “Paris.” Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s reference to Paris as a moveable feast, Knorowski embarked on her goodwill journey to build cultural bridges between France and other nations.

Knorowski has served as managing director of the Chicago Humanities Festival and CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. She currently serves as president and chief development officer for the Naval War College Foundation.


About Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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