Award Announcement

News Release
Monday, December 7, 1998
Nobel Peace Laureates and Leaders of Northern Ireland Peace Process Honored with Special Profile in Courage Award

Boston - The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the members of its Profile in Courage Award Committee today presented a special John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to eight political leaders of Northern Ireland and the American chairman of the peace talks in recognition of the extraordinary political courage they demonstrated in negotiating the historic Good Friday Peace Agreement last April. The award presentation was made by Caroline Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Library Foundation, and Senator Edward M. Kennedy at a formal ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston.

The presentation of the Profile in Courage Award to a non-American is unprecedented.

Nobel Peace Prize winners John Hume of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and David Trimble of the Ulster Unionist Party; as well as Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein; John Alderdice, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland; David Ervine, Progressive Unionist Party; Monica McWilliams, Northern IrelandWomen's Coalition; Gary McMichael, Ulster Democratic Party; Malachi Curran, Northern Ireland Labour Party; and former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, the American chairman of the peace talks, were presented with the prestigious award for political courage. Trimble was unable to attend the award ceremony.

The recipients were presented with the Profile in Courage Award's traditional silver lantern representing a beacon of hope by Caroline Kennedy. Before making the presentation to the political leaders of Northern Ireland, Kennedy read the following citation:

John Hume, David Trimble, Gerry Adams, John Alderdice, Malachi Curran, David Ervine, Gary McMichael, and Monica McWilliams recognized that the path to peace, justice, reconciliation, and an end to the violence in Northern Ireland is through dialogue and negotiation, and that progress toward these long-sought goals can be achieved only when leaders on all sides are willing to set aside their differences and find common ground. These eight courageous leaders committed themselves to ending thirty years of violence and bloodshed in Northern Ireland, to reducing divisions between Unionists and Nationalists, and to building bridges between these proud communities for the future. They dedicated themselves skillfully and tirelessly to their vision of peace. Their participation in the peace process led to the Good Friday Peace Agreement of April 10, 1998, which has changed the course of history for all the people of Northern Ireland. Each of them is a true Profile in Courage for our time and for all time.

She then read a separate citation for George Mitchell, the American chairman of the peace talks:

George Mitchell, former United States Senator from the State of Maine, performed a brilliant and indispensable service to the cause of peace as President Clinton's Special Adviser on Northern Ireland and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks. He used his remarkable negotiating skills to produce a maximum of consensus and a minimum of conflict among parties with deep and entrenched differences. He approached the task of achieving peace and an end to the violence in Northern Ireland with extraordinary skill and perseverance. He worked closely with each of the parties, heard and heeded their concerns, and enabled them to find common ground in the Good Friday Peace Agreement of April 10, 1998. George Mitchell is the peacemaker's peacemaker, and a true Profile in Courage for our time and all time.

Described by one recipient as the Nobel in Government, the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to an elected American official who has withstood strong opposition from constituents, powerful interest groups or adversaries to follow what they believe is the right course of action. The award is named for President Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers to fight for what they believed in. Created by the Kennedy Library Foundation in 1989, the award is presented annually, on or near May 29, in celebration of President Kennedy's birthday.

The award presented today is an unprecedented, special Profile in Courage Award given in recognition of the extraordinary political courage demonstrated by the eight political leaders and the American chairman of the peace talks to bring about peace in of Northern Ireland. It is the first time the award has been presented to an individual not elected to public office in the U.S.

The tenth annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award will be presented as scheduled on Monday, May 24, 1999. The winner of that award will be announced in May, 1999.

The Kennedy Library Foundation's Profile in Courage Award Committee is chaired by John Seigenthaler, Chairman of the Freedom Forum at the First Amendment Center, Vanderbilt University. Its members include: David Burke, former executive vice president of ABC News and president of CBS News; Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund; Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts; Caroline Kennedy, author, attorney, and president of the Kennedy Library Foundation; John F. Kennedy, Jr., editor, attorney and vice chairman of the Kennedy Library Foundation; David McCullough, historian and author of the Pulitzer prize-winning biography Truman; Mary Reed, vice president of human services, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc.; Alan Simpson, former U.S. Senator of Wyoming, and director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government; Olympia Snowe, U. S. Senator from Maine; and William vanden Heuvel, attorney, investment banker, and former special assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.

Further Information:

Tom McNaught (617) 514-1662