"There is no greater privilege than to be a part of a democratic government," Dreyfuss said in a statement Tuesday. "But it's one we often take for granted. We must not only educate our children to become smart individuals, but ones engaged in our political system. Their future is the future of our country."
Dreyfuss picked up the award at the Manhattan release party for "America the Beautiful" written by the late philosopher Sri Chinmoy. The book is Illumine Press's first publication and includes an introduction from Professor James Basker of Columbia University, who is also president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute.
Basker joined Dreyfuss, Professor Jeanne Theoharis of CUNY Brooklyn and Seth Andrew of Democracy Prep Charter School for a discussion on American education at the event, organizers said.
Dreyfuss, 62, has starred in the films "The Goodbye Girl," "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Mr. Holland's Opus."
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