Jay I. Kislak, 90, a Miami philanthropist and real-estate kingpin, was awarded Spain’s Order of Civil Merit for his work in preserving the cultural heritage of Spain and the early Americas.
“This well-deserved distinction is an official recognition on the part of Spain for the extraordinary work Jay Kislak has done to preserve our common heritage and to strengthen the ties between Spain and the United States,’’ Cristina Barrios Almazor, Consul General of Spain in Miami, said in a statement.
Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo, bestowed the award on Kislak at a luncheon at the Four Seasons in Miami on May 2. On hand were Ramón Gil-Casares, Spain’s Ambassador to the United States; representatives of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission, which Kislak chairs; and several family members and colleagues.
During more than 50 years, Kislak, founder and chairman of the Kislak Organization, a diversified Miami-based real estate firm, assembled one of the most significant private collections of historical pieces from the early Americas. In 2004, the Jay I. Kislak Foundation, a nonprofit formed by Kislak and his wife Jean, donated more than 4,000 books, manuscripts, art works and other objects for the creation of the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress.