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    As Obama comes to town for JFK award, a look at previous winners

    JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    Former president Barak Obama, in a rare official appearance since leaving office, will receive the Profile in Courage Award Sunday at the JFK Library and Museum in Dorchester.

    The award, created in 1989, is presented annually to public officials who make politically courageous decisions. It is named after John F. Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

    In selecting Obama, the library said he had put policy above politics by expanding health care to millions of Americans and forging an international accord to combat climate change.

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    Here is a look at some of the previous recipients.

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      Former congressman Carl Elliott, 1990. Elliott, of Alabama, was honored for helping to pass the National Defense Education Act of 1958, which provided funding to make a college education more accessible

      Corkin F. Cherubini, 1996. Cherubini, school superintendent in Calhoun County, Ga., worked to end the district’s academic tracking practices, which he believed had created a system of educational apartheid.

      Peacemakers of Northern Ireland, 1998. Eight political leaders were honored for negotiating the Good Friday Agreement that essentially brought the conflict known as The Troubles to an end.

      Gerald Ford, 2001. Honored for the difficult decision to pardon President Richard Nixon, a decision that prompted widespread criticism and, many historians believe, contributed to his reelection defeat to Jimmy Carter.

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      Doris Voitier, 2007. Voitier, school superintendent in St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana, labored “boldly and tirelessly” to reopen schools that were decimated by Hurricane Katrina.

      Gabrielle Giffords, 2013. Giffords, an Arizona congresswoman critically wounded in an assassination attempt, was cited for her extraordinary measures to stem gun violence.

     Dannel Malloy, 2016. The Connecticut governor was recognized for “his unwavering commitment to those fleeing persecution,’’ including his support for accepting Syrian refugees to his state.

    Roy Greene can be reached at roy.greene@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @roygreene.