PHILADELPHIA, June 17, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Constitution Center has announced His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet will receive the 2015 Liberty Medal in recognition of his advocacy for human rights worldwide. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will receive the prestigious award during the 27th annual Liberty Medal award ceremony at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 26, 2015, at the National Constitution Center on Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. The Liberty Medal, established in 1988, annually honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. A limited number of tickets to the ceremony will be made available to the general public in September. The event will also be broadcast on local ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV/6abc.
"We are so pleased to announce His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the recipient of the 2015 Liberty Medal," said National Constitution Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. "In his advocacy for Tibetans and for human rights worldwide, the Dalai Lama has always emphasized the ideals of freedom, dialogue, and tolerance. For this reason he embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal, which aims to honor men and women who strive to secure such blessings of liberty to people around the globe," he said.
"On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, we are honored to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama and present him with the prestigious Liberty Medal. His compassion and tolerance embody the very spirit of this special award and our city," said Mayor Michael Nutter.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit Philadelphia just one month after the city hosts the World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit.
"The city is fortunate to host two of the world's most inspirational leaders in such a short time," said Mayor Nutter.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is a Buddhist monk and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born in northeastern Tibet and at the age of two, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He began his monastic education at age six, and at age 23, passed his final examination with honors, receiving the highest level degree, equivalent to a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy. He was called to assume full political power in 1950. He presented a draft democratic constitution for Tibet in 1963, which was followed by reforms resulting in a charter enshrining freedom of speech, belief, assembly and movement.
He is an advocate for greater global equality and the equal rights of all people to peace, happiness, freedom, equality and dignity. In his work, His Holiness has consistently promoted dialogue in seeking solutions to problems, and has criticized censorship for its role in preventing the progression of ideas. He has advocated for and participated in the idea of interfaith dialogue and tolerance, pointing out that all major religions convey the same message of love, compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and became the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems. He is the recipient of more than 150 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes in recognition of his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion. Among his recent awards is the Shine a Light Award in 2011 from Amnesty International and the Templeton Prize in 2012 from the John Templeton Foundation. His Holiness has traveled to more than 67 countries spanning six continents. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 books.
"It is a tremendous honor and privilege to receive the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in the historic city of Philadelphia. I am delighted as a recipient to be in the company of so many other inspirational leaders. I have made it my life's work to spread the message of kindness and compassion and I can think of no better place to be recognized than in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection," said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
National Constitution Center Trustee, Ira Lubert of Lubert Adler, will sponsor the Liberty Medal award in 2015, as he has for the past eight years. Citizens Bank, which has sponsored the Liberty Medal since 2006, returns as Chairman's Sponsor. Stradley Ronan will also return as the President's Sponsor for the third consecutive year.
For more information, visit constitutioncenter.org/libertymedal.
About the Liberty Medal
The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. Six recipients of the Medal subsequently have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
About the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia inspires active citizenship as the only place where people across America and around the world can come together to learn about, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. We serve as America's leading platform for constitutional educational and debate, fulfilling our Congressional charter "to disseminate information about the U.S. Constitution on a non-partisan basis." As the Museum of We the People, we bring the United States Constitution to life for visitors of all ages through interactive programs and exhibits.
As America's Town Hall, the National Constitution Center hosts timely constitutional conversations uniting distinguished leaders, scholars, authors, and journalists from across the political spectrum. For more information, call 215-409-6700 or visit constitutioncenter.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A complete list of Liberty Medal winners follows.
Past Recipients of the Liberty Medal
2014 Malala Yousafzai*
2013 Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State
2012 Muhammad Ali
2011 Robert M. Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense
2010 Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister
2009 Steven Spielberg
2008 Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet Leader
2007 Bono and DATA
2006 George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton, former U.S. Presidents
2005 Viktor Yushchenko, former President of Ukraine
2004 Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
2003 Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (retired)
2002 Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State
2001 Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General*
2000 James Watson and Francis Crick, Co-Discoverers of the Structure of DNA
1999 Kim Dae-jung, former President of South Korea*
1998 George J. Mitchell, former U.S. Senator and Irish peace negotiator
1997 CNN International
1996 King Hussein I of Jordan and former Prime Minister of Israel
1995 Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1994 Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic
1993 F.W. de Klerk, President of South Africa* and Nelson Mandela, President of the African National Congress*
1992 Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice (retired)
1991 Oscar Arias Sanchez, former President of Costa Rica and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)*
1990 Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President*
1989 Lech Walesa, Co-Founder of Solidarity, Poland
* Nobel Peace Prize Recipients
Source: National Constitution Center