Dr. Thomas O. Hecht

Founder and Chairman of The International Advisory Board

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies was founded in 1993 at the initiative of, and with the philanthropic support of, Thomas O. Hecht of Montreal, Canada. Since then he has served as chairman of its International Advisory Committee.

A prominent leader of the Canadian Jewish community, Dr. Hecht has worked all his life for the safety and security of the Canadian Jewish community and the State of Israel.

He was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929 and escaped from Europe during World War II, arriving in Canada in 1942. He lectured at Concordia University and other colleges in the fields of international relations, political philosophy, and comparative government. His company, Continental Pharma Cryosan Inc. (started by his father in Czechoslovakia in 1929), was an important international healthcare products and medical research company operating in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Over more than 50 years of community activism, Dr. Hecht was president of the Montreal Herzl Health Centre, chairman of the Combined Jewish Appeal of Montreal, president of the United Israel Appeal of Canada, a member of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency, president of Israel Bonds in Canada, chairman of the Quebec-Israel Committee, a member of the board of governors of Concordia University, St. Mary’s Hospital, Jewish General Hospital, Association des hôpitaux du Québec, Festival International de Lanaudière, and the Quebec Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

He also served on the boards of directors of the Quebec financial sector giants Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Capital d’Amérique, and Société Générale de Financement.

Dr. Hecht has been awarded the Herzl Prize, the State of Israel’s 40th Anniversary Gold Medal, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Samuel Bronfman Medal, the Jerusalem Prize, the Chevalier of the Order of the Pléiade, and honorary doctorates from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Bar-Ilan University.