Tags: bona | DATA | liberty | medal

Bono Receives 2007 Liberty Medal

Sunday, 30 Sep 2007 09:58 PM

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PHILADELPHIA -- Bono, U2 lead singer

and activist, and DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), the advocacy

organization he co-founded to combat poverty and disease in Africa, were

presented with the National Constitution Center's 2007 Liberty Medal for their groundbreaking work in raising awareness about and spurring

a global response to the crisis of AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa.

Bono and DATA accepted the prestigious Medal and its accompanying $100,000 prize

in a public ceremony at the National Constitution Center in

Historic Philadelphia. All of the prize money will be donated to DATA.

During the ceremony, Joseph M. Torsella, National Constitution Center

President and CEO, said that this year's recipient is an inspirational

example of the power of citizens to elevate important issues to the world

stage.

"We honor Bono and DATA for leading an urgent conversation, challenging

the world's richest nations to do better by Africa, and challenging African

nations to do better by their own people," said Torsella. "And we honor the

way the great conversation about human liberty connects us all, across

places and times."

Bono, U2 lead singer and DATA co-founder, said, "This is a real honor

for myself and my bosses at DATA -- I am very proud of their work. It's

also a great excuse to go back to Philadelphia, where we launched the ONE

Campaign which now has 2.4 million Americans signed up to fight for justice

on behalf of the poorest of the poor. I don't suppose there are enough

Liberty Medals to go around, but in truth those people should all be

wearing one too."

Jamie Drummond, DATA's Executive Director said, "I'm profoundly proud

of DATA's work: from peddling anti-poverty policy to the Administration and

Congress, to our leadership role in launching the ONE Campaign and

organizing the Live 8 concert here in Philly two years ago. I am deeply

appreciative of this honor and of the additional doors I hope it will open

for our work. Every day 8,000 people die in Africa from AIDS and malaria

alone, two preventable, treatable diseases. It is an overwhelming tragedy,

but the challenges Africans are facing are not insurmountable. Effective

aid from the U.S. and the rest of the G8, combined with African

entrepreneurship, are working together to save lives and put millions of

kids in school. We are making amazing progress, but we have so much more to

do."

President George H.W. Bush, Chairman of the National Constitution

Center and last year's Liberty Medal recipient, said that he and the

Center's Board of Trustees are proud to honor this year's recipient. "As a

direct result of their effective advocacy and grassroots activism, Bono and

his team have also helped to kindle the hopes and dreams of millions of

children seeking to rise above poverty and disease, and to build a better

life," said President Bush. "We rightly salute DATA for all they have done

to mobilize what our President would call the 'armies of compassion' to

help touch and lift the lives of so many in need."

A Philadelphia tradition rooted in the bicentennial of the Constitution

in 1987, the Liberty Medal was administered by the National Constitution

Center for the first time last year, when Bush was honored with President

Bill Clinton for their bi-partisan humanitarian efforts on behalf of the

victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia and the hurricanes on the Gulf

Coast. A global initiative of the Constitution Center, the Medal reflects

the values of the U.S. Constitution -- a belief in justice, fairness,

self-governance, and a balance between individual rights and communal

responsibility; in the power of people to effectuate change; and in

resolving issues through deliberation, compromise, and respect for diverse

viewpoints.

Past Liberty Medal winners include Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, Shimon

Peres, Kofi Annan, and Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The Medal has

also been awarded to organizations, including Doctors Without Borders and

CNN International. Six former recipients of the Medal have subsequently won

the Nobel Peace Prize.

Established in 2002 by Bono, Bobby Shriver and Jamie Drummond, along

with other activists from the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt Campaign, DATA 's

mission is to eradicate extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa. DATA works

with the world's wealthiest nations - the United States, U.K., Germany,

France, Canada, Italy and Japan - to adopt new aid and trade policies that

will help Africans put themselves on the path to long-term prosperity and

stability. DATA also works with African leaders to support strengthened

democracy, accountability and transparency in government so that Africa's

citizens can ensure this assistance is being effectively deployed.

DATA has helped focus public attention on how to beat AIDS and extreme

poverty in Africa by working closely with politicians, the media and

celebrities. In 2005, DATA and campaigners around the world helped persuade

the G8 to reach an unprecedented agreement that included $25 billion in

additional development assistance for Africa by 2010, broad debt

cancellation, universal access to education, near universal access to AIDS

and malaria treatment and prevention. DATA is monitoring the G8's progress

on keeping these commitments and holding government leaders to public

account. If kept, these promises will save millions of lives and mark a

turning point in the West's relationship with Africa.

Mayor Street said, "I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the

2007 Philadelphia Liberty Medal than Bono and his great organization, DATA.

And there is no city with a more distinguished humanitarian history to

present it in! Like Bono, we Philadelphians understand that we all must

care for people living with poverty and disease anyplace in this world."

At the core of DATA's beliefs is a view that these issues are not about

charity, but about equality and justice. At the core of DATA's actions is a

belief that catalyzing social movements, such as the ONE Campaign, are

critical to lasting change.

The Mayor continued, "During our participation in the worldwide Live 8

concerts on July 2, 2005, we showed the world what we are capable of - not

only as a city but as a people. Philadelphia was selected as the only US

city to host a Live 8 concert because of our city's rich humanitarian

history - and one million people came to celebrate this important event and

to focus the eyes of the world on Africa's needs. The Liberty Medal is a

tribute to that heritage."

Established in 1988 by We the People 200 to commemorate the

bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, the Liberty Medal annually honors an

individual or an organization from anywhere in the world that has

"demonstrated leadership and vision in the pursuit of liberty of conscience

or freedom from oppression, ignorance or deprivation." Since 2006, the

National Constitution Center has administered the Liberty Medal, which

includes the annual presentation of the award and a host of supplemental

programs and activities designed to extend the Medal's reach throughout the

year.

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