Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Tony Blair receives Liberty Medal human rights award for Northern Ireland work

'Liberty is not acquired by accident. It's won by endeavour'

Former US President Bill Clinton (C), along with National Constitution Center's president David Eisner (R), presents former Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) the 2010 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center September 13, 2010 in Philadelphia
Former US President Bill Clinton (C), along with National Constitution Center's president David Eisner (R), presents former Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) the 2010 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center September 13, 2010 in Philadelphia
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair at his first book signing in Dublin on Saturday
Tony Blair cancelled a planned book signing in London after an angry reception in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Tony Blair during an interview with Ryan Turbidy on The Late Show at RTE TV studios, Dublin, as the former Prime Minister continues to promote his new book, 'A Journey'
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Posters declaring Tony Blair as a war criminal during the former prime minister's book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Tony Blair emerges from Eason's bookstore on O'Connell Street in Dublin, to the sound of chanting protesters as they demonstrate against his book signing
Protestors outside the shop front of Eason's bookstore as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing in Dublin
Tony Blair emerges from Eason's bookstore on O'Connell Street in Dublin, to the sound of chanting protesters as they demonstrate against his book signing
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Kate O'Sullivan from Cork who attempted to make a citizens arrest on former Prime Minister Tony Blair as he signed copies of his autobiography in Dublin this morning
Gardai line the shop front of Eason's bookstore as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Gardai clash with protesters as former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends his first book signing at Eason's bookstore in Dublin
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, atttending his first book signing, meets staff at Eason's bookstore, Dublin
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, atttending his first book signing, meets Conor Whelen, Managing Director of Eason bookstore, Dublin
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
A relative of Bloody Sunday victim Jackie Duddy is comforted by Martin McGuinness as she marches from the Bogside area of Londonderry to the Guildhall to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Bloody Sunday. January 1972
Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.
Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan. They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street. 31/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings
Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
An injured man receiving attention on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city.
Bloody Sunday 1972
JAMES WRAY IN HIS HOME IN THE BOGSIDE DERRY HOLDING THE COAT WITH BULLIET HOLES IN THAT HIS SON ALSO CALLED JAMES WRAY WAS KILLED ON BLOODY SUNDAY
Bloody Sunday. A number of civilians arrested by the Army are marched in a line, with their hands on their heads, through the Bogside. 31/1/1972
Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary's, Creggan. 2/2/1972.
Bloody Sunday. 30.1.1972
Bloody Sunday. Funerals. 2.2.1972
Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city.
General Sir Robert Ford, Britain's Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland, pictured on July 3, 1972
Bloody Sunday when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march. PACEMAKER PRESS
Bloody Sunday: Up to 20 soldiers still face being formally questioned by police for alleged murder, attempted murder or criminal injury during the notorious incident
30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.
A scene showing British paratroopers near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.
A scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.
A man receiving attention during Bloody Sunday.
Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday
St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Paul Doherty in front of an image of his dying father Patrick Doherty who was shot on Bloody Sunday.
Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.
Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings
Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march
Bloody Sunday - when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights marc. PACEMAKER PRESS
PACEMAKER BELFAST - FLASHBACK - Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city.PICTURE CREDIT PACEMAKER PRESS
John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Michael Kelly who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
An injured man receives treatment on Bloody Sunday. Survivor and campaigner Johnny Duddy has died aged 87
Lord Saville
A Republican mural is seen on the side of a house in the Bogside are of Derry, the scene of the 'Bloody Sunday' shootings. 2005
Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which became known as Bloody Sunday, January 31, 1972.
Fr Daly waving a bloody handkerchief as he and several others carry the fatally wounded Jackie Duddy, 17, past British soldiers on January 30, 1972, known as Bloody Sunday. Picture by Stanley Matchett
The Bloody Sunday Anniversary. Among the marchers were Native Americans who attended the event because of their sympathy with Irish Nationalists. 30/1/85.
IRA gunmen in Derry during a Bloody Sunday commemoration. Pacemaker Press Intl. 29 Jan. 1978
IRA gunmen in Derry during a Bloody Sunday commemoration. Pacemaker Press Intl. 29 Jan. 1978
Bloody Sunday Commemoration. IRA Gunman displays M60 Machine Gun on streets of Derry. Pacemaker Press Intl.29 Jan. 1978.
Commemoration of Bloody Sunday march in Derry. Gerry Adams and Martin Maguiness are pictured. Pacemaker Press Intl. 30/1/83.
A youth is arrested at gunpoint by a Paratrooper in Derry on Bloody Sunday Picture by Fred Hoare

Former prime minister Tony Blair has received the Liberty Medal, one of the highest private honours in the US, for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

The medal is given annually by the Philadelphia-based National Constitution Centre to individuals or organisations whose actions strive to bring liberty to people worldwide. Former US president Bill Clinton presented the award at an outdoor ceremony on Independence Mall.

Mr Blair was honoured for his work with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which promotes religious tolerance, for his initiative to improve governance in Africa, and for advancing peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, among other efforts.

The event comes amid a publicity tour for Mr Blair's best-selling memoir A Journey, which was released on September 1. The autobiography re-energised British and Irish anti-war protesters, who continue to blast Mr Blair for supporting the US invasion of Iraq. A hostile crowd threw shoes and eggs at him at a book-signing in Dublin this month, and he cancelled a similar event in London for fear of disruption.

Mr Blair received a much warmer reception in Philadelphia from the friendly crowd of about 1,250.

Mr Clinton, the centre's chairman, praised Mr Blair at the ceremony for being a "wonderful world citizen" and "living a life worthy of this award".

"His faith foundation is promoting religion as a powerful force for good and reconciliation," Mr Clinton said. "Tony Blair believes that people of faith can be people of peace."

Mr Blair said liberty is the result of "ordinary human beings doing extraordinary things in the midst of Earth-changing events."

"Liberty is not acquired by accident," Mr Blair said. "It's won by endeavour."

The ceremony included a performance by The Irish Tenors and a video tribute from U2 frontman Bono, who received the medal in 2007. He praised Mr Blair for his work securing the Good Friday accord in 1998 to end sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. "Tony Blair understands the word 'compromise' better than most," Bono said.

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