Praised by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France as an “indefatigable humanist,” Claude Levi-Strauss’ 100th birthday was celebrated in 25 countries on 28 November 2008. He died from cardiac arrest on 30 October 2009 less than a month before his 101st birthday.
Levi-Strauss was an anthropologist who advanced the idea, 40 years ago, that cultural diversity is a positive attribute of human societies. The Director-General of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) said that Levi-Strauss’ theories “changed the way people perceived each other, striking down such divisive concepts as race and opening the way for a new vision based on recognition of the common bond of humanity.”
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