Madeleine Albright Receives the International Rescue Committee's Freedom Award
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was awarded the International Rescue Committee’s highest honor, the Freedom Award, at a banquet November 10 in New York City. The award is given to individuals who have provided extraordinary service and inspirational leadership in the cause of human freedom throughout the world.
In presenting the award, John C. Whitehead, chairman of IRC, said, "Anyone who is acquainted with the IRC knows that our heroes and heroines are refugees. We admire their thirst for freedom, their tenacity and their courage. These are all qualities that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright possesses in abundance."
The IRC Freedom Award was first presented in 1957 to Willy Brandt, Chancellor of West Germany. Through the years, others who have since received the award include Winston Churchill, David Sarnoff, head of NBC, U.S. Senators Jacob K. Javits and Hubert Humphrey, Elie Wiesel, Lech Walesa and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.
In 1996 the award was presented to two women: Mrs. Sadato Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Prize winner, for her leadership in the struggle for democracy in her homeland, Burma. The award last year went to Robert P. DeVecchi, IRC president from 1985 to 1997, a period in which IRC expended dramatically from a primary focus on resettlement in the United States to worldwide refugee relief and assistance.