National Constitutional Center to honor Ukrainian president with Liberty Medal

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers his speech addressing the nation in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. Russian troops bore down on Ukraine's capital Friday, with explosions and gunfire sounding in the city as the invasion of a democratic country fueled fears of wider war in Europe and triggered new international efforts — including direct sanctions on President Vladimir Putin — to make Moscow stop

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers his speech addressing the nation in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

The 2022 Liberty Medal will be awarded this fall to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The National Constitution Center announced Monday that Zelenskyy will be honored in a ceremony in October for what it called “his heroic defense of liberty in the face of Russian tyranny.”

Constitution Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen said when the committee gathered to discuss who would receive the honor, it was “unanimously obvious” Zelenskyy would win.

“It’s so meaningful for all of us at the National Constitution Center to have the opportunity to recognize President Zelenskyy,” Rosen said. “His heroism, his courage, his bravery are such inspirations to defenders of liberty around the world, and we’re honored to be able to recognize him.”

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The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to mark the U.S. Constitution’s bicentennial and is awarded to those who, “strive to secure the blessings of liberty for people around the globe.” Previous recipients include Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Sen. John McCain, Rep. John Lewis, and Malala Yousafzai.

The Liberty Medal award is presented with a $100,000 prize. According to a release, President Zelenskyy plans to allocate the prize to a newly established Ukrainian Veteran Fund with the Ministry of Veteran Affairs of Ukraine.

“This meaningful gesture is yet another reason that we’re just so, so, so grateful to be able to make this award,” Rosen said.

Details for the ceremony are still being ironed out, but the NCC expects Zelenskyy to receive the award by a prerecorded video or a live acceptance speech from Ukraine.

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Zelenskyy, who has served as Ukraine’s president since May 2019, has also been the recipient of awards such as the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award and the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award as well as honors from the governments of the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia, the center said.

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