The Profile in Courage Award is a private award given to recognize displays of courage similar to those John F. Kennedy described in his book Profiles in Courage. It is given to individuals (often elected officials) who, by acting in accord with their conscience, risked their careers or lives by pursuing a larger vision of the national, state or local interest in opposition to popular opinion or pressure from constituents or other local interests.
The winners of the award are selected by a bi-partisan committee named by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which includes members of the Kennedy family and other prominent Americans. It is generally awarded each year around the time of Kennedy's birthday (May 29) at a ceremony at the Kennedy Library in Boston. The award is generally presented by Kennedy's daughter Caroline Kennedy. Also before their deaths, other presenters had included Senator Edward Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr., and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Two recipients, John Lewis (in 2001) and William Winter (in 2008), were designated as honorees for Lifetime Achievement.
The winner is presented with a sterling silverlantern made by Tiffany's which was designed by Edwin Schlossberg. The lantern is patterned after the lanterns on USS Constitution, the last sail-powered ship to remain part of the US Navy, which is permanently moored nearby.
|1990||Carl Elliott, Sr.||U.S. representative from the U.S. state of Alabama.|
|1991||Charles Weltner||A politician from the U.S. state of Georgia.|
|1992||Lowell P. Weicker Jr.||U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the 85th Governor of Connecticut.|
|1993||James Florio||Democratic politician who served as the 49thGovernor of New Jersey from 1990 to 1994. Member of the United States House of Representatives for 15 years between 1975 and 1990.|
|1994||Henry Gonzalez||Democraticpolitician from the U.S. state of Texas, who represented Texas's 20th congressional district from 1961 to 1999.|
|1995||Michael Synar||American Democraticpolitician who represented Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district in Congress for eight terms.|
|1996||Corkin Cherubini||School superintendent||Efforts to rectify civil rights abuses in his small southern school district|
|1997||Judge Charles Price||A judge for Circuit 15 in Montgomery County, Alabama. He served as a judge for the court from 1983 until his retirement from the bench on January 16, 2015.|
|1998||Nickolas C. Murnion||A judge on the 16th Judicial District Court in Montana.|
|"Peacemakers of Northern Ireland"||Signatories of the Good Friday Agreement|
|1999||Russell Feingold||A lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He was the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016, and previously served as a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from January 3, 1993 to January 3, 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District.|
|John McCain||An American politician who currently serves as the seniorUnited States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republicannominee for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.|
|2000||Hilda Solis||An American politician and a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the 1st district. Solis previously served as the 25th United States Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2013, as part of the administration of PresidentBarack Obama. She is a member of the Democratic Party and served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2009, representing the 31st and 32nd congressional districts of California that include East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.|
(Lifetime Achievement Award)
|An American politician and civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. His district includes three quarters of Atlanta.|
|Gerald Ford||38th President of the United States||For his controversial pardon of Richard Nixon, which arguably cost him the 1976 election.|
|2002||Kofi Annan||A Ghanaiandiplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. He is the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.|
|Dean Koldenhoven||Former mayor of Palos Heights, Illinois||Political courage in speaking out against religious discrimination and calling for tolerance within his community.|
|"Public Servants of September 11"||Representatives of NYPD, the FDNY, and the military||Risked their lives on September 11, 2001 attacks|
|2003||Dan Ponder, Jr.||He was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 1997 to 2000. He is a member of the Republican party. In 2003, he received the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. He was elected mayor of Donalsonville, Georgia in 2013.||Took a contentious stand in favor of hate-crimes legislation in Georgia, which may have cost him his seat in the state House.|
|David Beasley||An American politician who is the Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Programme. Beasley served one term as the 113thGovernor of South Carolina from 1995 until 1999, as a member of the Republican Party.||For his efforts to remove the Confederate battle flag from atop the state capitol.|
|Roy Barnes||An American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as the 80th Governor of Georgia from 1999 to 2003.||For his efforts to minimize the Confederate battle emblem on Georgia's state flag.|
|2004||Sima Samar||A well known woman’s and human rights advocate, activist and a social worker within national and international forums, who served as Minister of Women's Affairs of Afghanistan from December 2001 to 2003.|
|Cindy Watson||Former North Carolina State Representative|
|Paul Muegge||State Senator of Oklahoma|
|2005||Joseph Darby||The whistleblower in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal.|
|Shirley Franklin||58th mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, from 2002 to 2010.|
|Bill Ratliff||Texaspolitician who served as a member of the Texas State Senate from 1988 to 2004.|
|Victor Yushchenko||Third President of Ukraine from January 23, 2005 to February 25, 2010.|
|2006||Alberto J. Mora||A former General Counsel of the Navy||Led an effort within the Defense Department to oppose the legal theories of John Yoo and to try to end coercive interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay, which he argued are unlawful.|
|John Murtha||An American politician from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.|
|2007||Bill White||Mayor of Houston from 2004 to 2010.|
|Doris Voitier||Math teacher|
|2008||Jennifer Brunner||An American politician of the Democratic Party who served as the Ohio Secretary of State|
|Debra Bowen||Secretary of State of California from 2007 to 2015. Previously, she was a member of the California State Legislature from 1992 to 2006.|
(Lifetime Achievement Award)
|58th Governor of Mississippi from 1980 to 1984 as a Democrat.|
|2009||Edward M. Kennedy||An American politician and lawyer who served as a United States Senator from Massachusetts.|
|Brooksley Born||An American attorney and former public official who, from August 26, 1996, to June 1, 1999, was chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the federal agency which oversees the futures and commodity options markets.|
|Sheila Bair||19th Chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), during which time she assumed a prominent role in the government's response to the 2008 financial crisis. She was appointed to the post for a five-year term on June 26, 2006 by George W. Bush.|
|Leymah Gbowee and the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace||Helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.|
|2010||Karen Bass||Bass represented the 47th district in the California State Assembly 2004–2010, and was Speaker of the California State Assembly 2008–2010 (second woman, third African American speaker).|
|Dave Cogdill||Republican politician who served as a State Senator from California's 14th State Senate district from December 2006 to December 2010.|
|Darrell Steinberg||A member of the California State Senate representing the 6th District. He had also previously served as a member of the California State Assembly (1998–2004) and as a member of the Sacramento City Council (1992–1998). He is a member of the Democratic Party.|
|Michael Villines||Former California State Assemblyman, who served from 2004 to 2010 representing the 29th district.|
|2011||Elizabeth Redenbaugh||School Board Member, New Hanover County, North Carolina||For her actions, as a member of North Carolina's New Hanover County School Board "against what she perceived as racial segregation in school redistricting plans."|
|Wael Ghonim and the People of Egypt||"presented to Wael Ghonim in honor of all Egyptians who stood up, at great personal risk, for the principles of democracy and self-governance" in the Egyptian revolution of 2011.|
|2012||Marsha K. Ternus, David L. Baker, and Michael J. Streit||Justices of the Iowa Supreme Court||"[I]n recognition of the political courage and judicial independence each demonstrated in setting aside popular opinion to uphold the basic freedoms and security guaranteed to all citizens under the Iowa constitution." The justices joined the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling, Varnum v. Brien, that legally recognized same-sex marriage in Iowa; "[a]lthough the Court’s decision was unanimous, it provoked a political backlash. In November 2010, voters removed Ternus, Baker and Streit from office following an unprecedented campaign financed in part by national interest groups opposed to same-sex marriage."|
|Robert S. Ford||Diplomat; United States Ambassador to Algeria (2006-2008); United States Ambassador to Syria (2010-2014)||For "bold and courageous diplomacy" that "provided crucial support to Syrians struggling under the brutal regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad."|
|2013||Gabrielle Giffords||Former U.S. Representative for Arizona's 8th congressional district (2007-2012)||"[I]n recognition of the political, personal, and physical courage she has demonstrated in her fearless public advocacy for policy reforms aimed at reducing gun violence." Giffords survived an assassination attempt that left her with a severe brain injury.|
|2014||George H. W. Bush||41st President of the United States||"[I]n recognition of the political courage he demonstrated when he agreed to a 1990 budget compromise that reversed his 1988 campaign pledge not to raise taxes and put his re-election prospects at risk."|
|Paul W. Bridges||Mayor of Uvalda, Georgia||"[F]or risking his mayoral career with his decision to publicly oppose a controversial immigration law in Georgia" (H.B. 87). Bridges joined a federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU to stop the implementation of the law.|
|2015||Bob Inglis||Former U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 4th congressional district (1993-1999; 2005-2011)||"[F]or the courage he demonstrated when reversing his position on climate change after extensive briefings with scientists, and discussions with his children, about the impact of atmospheric warming on our future. Knowing the potential consequences to his political career, Inglis nevertheless called on the United States to meaningfully address the issue."|
|2016||Dan Malloy||Governor of Connecticut (2011-present)||For "courageously defend[ing] the U.S. resettlement of Syrian refugees and personally welcom[ing] a family of Syrian refugees to New Haven after they had been turned away by another state."|
|2017||Barack Obama||44th President of the United States||"[F]or his enduring commitment to democratic ideals and elevating the standard of political courage in a new century."|
- ^Robillard, Kevin (May 14, 2015). "Feingold running for Wisconsin Senate". Politico. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- ^Nelson, James (February 4, 2016). "Sen. Ron Johnson claims Russ Feingold is a career politician". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. PolitiFact. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- ^"Kofi Annan - Biographical". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- ^Annan, Kofi. "The Nobel Peace Prize 2001". nobelprize.org. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- ^"Kofi Annan | Ghanaian statesman and secretary-general of the United Nations". Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- ^"Ga House - Hon. Dan E. Ponder, Jr. (GA SH 160)". ga.gov. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- ^"Dan Ponder, Jr". jfklibrary.org. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- ^"Donalsonville News, Mayor-elect Ponder's plan of action". Donalsonville News. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- ^"Ponder wins Donalsonville mayor's race by three votes - www.millercountyliberal.com - Miller County Liberal". millercountyliberal.com. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- ^Cook, James F. (2005). The Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004, 3rd Edition, Revised and Expanded. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press.
- ^Bill RatliffArchived September 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., Texas State Politics, University of Texas
- ^"FDIC: Board of Directors & Senior Executives". Fdic.gov. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
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- ^ ab2012 JFK Profile in Courage Award Winners Announced (March 12, 2012).
- ^Gordon, Michael R. (February 28, 2014). "American Envoy to Syria Steps Down". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- ^ ab
- ^Former U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis to Receive JFK Profile in Courage Award for Stance on Climate Change
- ^Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy Announced as Recipient of the 2016 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for Stand on Syrian Refugee Resettlement (April 4, 2016).
- ^Former President Barack H. Obama Announced as Recipient of 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award
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