Ten foreign recipients of the National Order of the Legion of Honour:
- Robert Redford, American actor and director (Chevalier)
- Brig. James Hill DSO, British Army officer (Officier)
- Gen. Sir John Monash, Australian Army officer (Grand Officier)
- Sister Marie Jacqueline Ho, Chinese (Hong Kong) nun (Chevalier)
- Edward Westby Donovan, Irish officer of the British Army (Chevalier)
- Epitácio Lindolfo da Silva Pessoa, President of Brazil (Grand Croix)
- Güler Sabancı, Turkish businesswoman (Officier)
- Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, Nigerian engineer, former Secretary General of OPEC (Officier)
- Gen. Manuel Noriega, Panamanian dictator (Commandeur)
- Mohamed Haniff, Tamil Indian government official (Chevalier)
The Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, is France's highest honor. Strictly speaking, only French nationals may be members of the Legion of Honor, but foreign nationals who served France or its ideals may be granted "distinction of the Legion," which is apparently pretty much the same thing. I was going to compare it to the partnership structure of the accounting firm Ernst & Young, but explaining that would be kind of a chore in and of itself, so forget it. Anyway, earlier today French President Nicolas Sarkozy inducted Robert Redford into the Legion of Honor as a Chevalier. No doubt Mr. Redford is thrilled and delighted to be a member of the same organization that welcomed Noriega and Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.
Incidentally, Jonathan Franzen is not a member.