For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 13, 2009
Recipients of Medal of Freedom
President Bush Honors Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients
Tony Blair has been a powerful force for freedom and for building understanding among nations. As Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he was instrumental in helping millions of people secure their freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Sierra Leone; forging a new era of peace in Northern Ireland; providing humanitarian assistance around the globe, especially in Africa; and strengthening the special relationship between our two nations. Throughout his career, and in his role as Quartet Representative to the Middle East, he has worked to provide people with opportunities to better their lives. The United States honors Tony Blair for his lifelong dedication to building a more just and peaceful world.
John Winston Howard
During a career of public service spanning four decades, John Howard has been an unwavering champion of democracy and freedom. As Prime Minister of Australia, he helped deliver unparalleled prosperity to his country's people through staunch adherence to free market principles. Relations between our two countries were never closer than under his stewardship, and after the attacks of September 11, 2001, he worked steadfastly to combat the scourge of terrorism, bring freedom to millions of people, and promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The United States honors John Winston Howard for his lifelong efforts to spread hope and freedom throughout the world.
Álvaro Uribe Vélez
As President of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe has championed the rule of law in a country that endured decades of violence at the hands of illegal armed groups. He has demonstrated a deep commitment to the prosperity of Colombia's people, and his bold policies have spread democratic values and established the foundation for a lasting peace throughout Colombia. He has been a courageous partner of the United States, and under his leadership, Colombia has become a model for countries seeking reconciliation and the establishment of a society based on respect for human dignity. The United States honors Álvaro Uribe Vélez for his commitment to freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.