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Ukrainian President Zelensky, Rep. Liz Cheney among 5 recipients of JFK Profile in Courage Award

Ukraine's President Volodymyr ZelenskySERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, US Representative Liz Cheney, and three other public servants will receive this year’s John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for their unyielding efforts to safeguard democracy, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said Thursday.

The additional recipients of the award on May 22 will be Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, and Georgia Election Department employee Wandrea “Shaye” Moss.

The five were chosen for the “courage they’ve shown protecting democracy in the United States and abroad,” the foundation said.

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of JFK and a former ambassador to Japan, will present the awards at the ceremony along with her son, Jack Schlossberg, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Dorchester.

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“There is no more important issue facing our country — and the world — today than the fight for democracy,” Kennedy said in a statement. “The war in Ukraine has shown the world that we can’t take freedom for granted, and the courage of our elected officials in the US reminds us that as citizens we each have a responsibility to protect our democracy and exercise our fundamental right to vote.”

Representative Liz CheneyJ. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

She said this year’s honorees “put their careers and lives on the line to stand up for democratic principles and the integrity of our elections. Their service and courage inspire us all.”

Her words were echoed by her son.

“Our democracy depends on the courage and principles of individuals at every level of government in elections across the country,” said Schlossberg, who sits on the Profile in Courage Award Committee. “We’re celebrating people who raise the bar and set an example for a new generation.”

Zelensky has captivated the world with his heroic leadership of Ukraine amid the bloody war with Russia, giving a seemingly endless round of virtual addresses to his own people and to Western governments, encouraging his fellow citizens to remain steadfast in the face of Russian aggression and pleading for more weapons from NATO members.

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Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, made waves when she voted to impeach fellow Republican former President Donald Trump for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. She’s emerged as a symbol of principled bipartisanship in an ever more polarized political climate.

Benson, Bowers, and Moss, the foundation said, all bravely resisted efforts by Trump supporters to overturn the 2020 election results in their states, in the face of threats, violence, and intimidation.

Previous Profile in Courage recipients include: former Presidents Barack Obama, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush; US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; former US representative Gabrielle Giffords; former US senator John McCain; Liberian peace activist and Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee; US Representative John Lewis; and former California state senator and US secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.