The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum announced Barack Obama as the recipient of its Profile in Courage Award, which the 44th president will receive at a special ceremony at the library on May 7. The ceremony will be part of the celebrations for the centennial of President Kennedy’s birth on May 29. The award will be presented by former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and her son Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s daughter and grandson. President Obama will deliver a speech. In a statement from the JFK Library, President Obama said:
“It’s been more than half a century since John F. Kennedy asked us to cast aside our narrow self-interest and take up the chase of a greater ambition: our collective capacity to do big things, especially when it’s hard,” said President Obama. “It was a call to citizenship as true as the words of our founding and a conviction that helped guide me to public service as a younger man – a belief in the possibilities of our democracy and the power of what we, the people, can do together.
“Even today, amidst the noisy and too often trivial pursuits of the politics of our time, it’s a summons to service that rings as loudly as ever. Part of that is thanks to an extraordinary family that continues to light the fire of imagination and plant the seed of noble ambition in the minds of each new generation of Americans. Like so many Americans, I am grateful for the Kennedy family’s legacy of service. And I am deeply humbled to receive the Profile in Courage Award.”
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award was created in 1989 by members of President Kennedy’s family to honor President John F. Kennedy and to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most.
The award recognizes a public official (or officials) at the federal, state or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership in the spirit of Profiles in Courage, President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers by embracing unpopular positions for the greater good.
President Obama has kept a low profile for the most part since leaving office in January, though he was recently sighted in New York City and signed a lucrative publishing deal for his and his wife’s memoirs. This presentation and speech will likely be one of President Obama’s first public appearances (if not THE first) of his post-presidency.