CHICAGO, Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation announced today that it will award its prestigious Lincoln Leadership Prize to the 42nd President of the United States, President Bill Clinton, during a special dinner to be held at the Hilton Chicago on May 4. This annual award honors outstanding individuals for a lifetime of service in the spirit of 16th President Abraham Lincoln. This is the first time the prize will be awarded to a former president of the United States. It is intended to honor individuals who manifest great strength of character, individual conscience, and an unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy.
This year's prize is particularly momentous as 2013 is the 150th anniversary of two historic moments in President Lincoln's leadership – the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address.
"We are delighted to present this year's Lincoln Leadership Prize to former President Bill Clinton, whose successful presidency and stature as an international statesman truly exemplify President Lincoln's conscience, spirit and leadership," said Wayne W. Whalen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. "His lifetime commitment to public service defines the very characteristics of President Lincoln's legacy as one of the great leaders of our country."
President Clinton's administration is one of the most accomplished and diverse to ever serve the American people. Throughout his historic presidency, he employed important leadership principles that guided the United States into the 21st century as the world's leading force for peace, prosperity, freedom and security. President Clinton led the country to the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years. During his presidency, the United States also experienced the highest home ownership rate and family income levels in the country's history. Additionally, President Clinton converted the largest budget deficit in history to the largest surplus, decreased the national debt by $360 billion and had the lowest government spending in nearly three decades.
He also enacted sweeping gun safety and crime legislation that funded nearly 100,000 community police officers and resulted in the lowest crime rate in more than two decades. His commitment to education raised standards, increased school choice, doubled the federal investment in education, expanded college opportunities and connected 95 percent of schools in the country to the internet.
President Clinton's commitment to public service has continued since he left the White House. He established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission of improving global health, strengthening economies, promoting healthier childhoods, and protecting the environment. In 2005, President Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing issues.
"The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Foundation created the Lincoln Leadership Prize to not only honor individuals who carry on President Lincoln's legacy, but to celebrate the freedoms and ideals our country enjoys today because of him," said Dr. Carla Knorowski, Chief Executive Officer of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. "We look forward to honoring President Clinton on May 4 as this year's recipient. The legacy of his historic presidency and continued public service greatly embody President Lincoln's spirit."
The Lincoln Leadership Prize has been awarded since 2006. Previous honorees include former Polish President Lech Walesa, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Astronaut James A. Lovell Jr., and the late television journalist Tim Russert.
AT&T is the presenting sponsor for the Lincoln Leadership Prize, and has been a significant supporter of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. For more information on the Lincoln Leadership Prize Dinner and to purchase individual tickets or secure a table, please visit www.lincolnleadershipprize.org or call the Foundation office at (217) 557-6251.
About the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation supports the educational and cultural programming of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; fosters Lincoln scholarship through the acquisition and publication of documentary materials relating to Lincoln and his era; and promotes a greater appreciation of history through exhibits, conferences, publications, online services, and other activities designed to promote historical literacy.
SOURCE The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation