Former Dayton congressman Tony Hall to receive Romania’s highest honor today

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A former Dayton congressman is set to receive Romania’s highest honor.

Tony Hall, former ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, is being honored with the Star of Romania, the country’s highest honor, today July 13.

Hall, a Dayton native, is being awarded for his “exceptional contribution to defense of democracy and support of human rights in Romania,” according to a release from the Hall Hunger Initiative.

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While in Congress, Hall traveled to Romania in the 1980′s during the oppressive regime of dictator Nicholae Ceasuescu.

When he returned, Hall started a bipartisan effort to remove Romania’s Most Favored Nation trade status, an important sanction that strongly showed America’s condemnation of the regime.

“It was not an easy process, Ceasuescu had wined and dined members of congress and the administration so there was opposition to our efforts. However, the evidence of oppression was overwhelming and ultimately we were successful,” Hall said.

The people of Romania eventually overthrew Ceasuescu, leading to his arrest, trial and execution.

While the people of Romania have told him the support from American was “extremely important to their efforts,” Hall said they were the ones who deserve the credit.

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“They showed remarkable courage and resilience under conditions we can’t even imagine. I will always be in awe of their strength and faith,” he said.

Hall served the Dayton area in Congress for nearly 24 years. He also served as an ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 2002-2006.

Hall has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and was unanimously chosen to be awarded the Dayton Peace Prize in May.

Hall will receive the Star of Romania Wednesday at the Romanian Embassy in Washington, D.C.