Former presidents Bush, Clinton to receive Liberty Medal

Former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who put politics aside to help raise more than $1 billion (Ђ800 million) for disaster relief efforts, will share the 2006 Liberty Medal, officials said Thursday.

The award annually honors an individual or organization that has "demonstrated leadership and vision in the pursuit of liberty of conscience or freedom from oppression, ignorance, or deprivation."

Bush, a Republican, and Clinton, a Democrat, joined forces last year to aid Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina through the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Earlier, they formed the Bush-Clinton Tsunami Partnership to help survivors of the December 2004 tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people in southeast Asia.

The former leaders will accept the medal and its accompanying $100,000 (Ђ79,814) prize on Oct. 5 at the National Constitution Center, in what will be the first Liberty Medal given under the center's management.

First awarded in 1989, the Liberty Medal was previously administered by regional civic groups including the Philadelphia Foundation and Greater Philadelphia First.

Past Liberty Medal recipients include Polish union leader Lech Walesa, former President Jimmy Carter, former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, South African leaders F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and, most recently, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

Six recipients of the medal have subsequently won the Nobel Peace Prize, reports AP.

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