The Liberty Medal has been presented to representatives of the Dalai Lama, who was unable to attend due to health reasons.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was chosen in June to receive the award, which comes with a $100,000 cash prize, for his efforts to promote compassion and human rights around the globe.
At Monday’s National Constitution Center ceremony, actor Richard Gere called him “one of the great ones” who “wants nothing more than our happiness.”
The Dalai Lama said in a video statement that he regretted not being able to attend and was committed until his death to promoting human value, including liberty.
The 80-year-old Dalai Lama, who received the Nobel Prize in 1989, has lived in exile in India since a failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.