Appeal of Conscience Foundation honors British prime minister

In Washington honors are bestowed on someone or some group almost on a daily basis it seems. One such honor this week was an award given by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, foundation president and founder, and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington and the foundation’s vice president, honored Brown with the 2009 World Statesman Award March 3 at the British Embassy.

Founded in 1965, the foundation has worked on behalf of religious freedom, human rights and tolerance throughout the world. The interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders promote mutual understanding, peace and interfaith dialogue.

Brown was recognized for “his compassionate leadership in dealing with the challenging issues facing humanity, and for his commitment to freedom, human dignity and the environment, and for the major role he has played in helping to stabilize the world’s financial system.”

“I am privileged to be receiving this award from a foundation that I admire and this is a great honor,” Brown said. “I look forward to working with the Appeal of Conscience Foundation in the future as you defend human rights and freedom in the world.”

Past recipients of the World Statesman Award include French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, other world leaders and leading international business leaders.

Rabbi Schneier praised Brown for his courage “to defend freedom, democracy and human rights, values common to the British and American people” and his “commitment to strengthen the tolerance and coexistence within society.”

“Your keen intellect and compassionate leadership are particularly appreciated in these trying times as economic hardships increase societal divisions and international tensions,” the rabbi said.

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