2010 Liberty Medal Recipient
The National Constitution Center’s 2010 Liberty Medal was awarded to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his steadfast commitment to conflict resolution. Former Prime Minister Blair played a critical role in advancing peace in Northern Ireland during his tenure as British prime minister. Throughout the grueling negotiation process that preceded the historic Good Friday Accord, he displayed unwavering determination to settle the generations-long conflict.
Tony Blair served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 through 2007, the longest service of any Labour Party prime minister, based on leading his party to an unprecedented three consecutive general election victories. Blair’s integral role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process has been widely recognized as one of his greatest achievements while in office. On April 10, 1998, the Good Friday Accord brought an end to the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, after a decade-long negotiation. Blair’s success in navigating the contentious negotiation process places him firmly among the world’s most effective modern statesmen. By extending his hand to Irish leaders in the spirit of unity and refusing to abandon discussions – despite repeated and often violent setbacks – Blair opened the door to liberty and peace in a region long plagued by turmoil.
In 2007, at the end of his term as prime minister, Blair was named Quartet Representative to the Middle East, representing the United States, United Nations, Russia, and the European Union. In this role, Blair works with the Palestinian Authority, the Government of Israel, and the international community to prepare the Palestinians for statehood.
The following year, he established the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which promotes respect and understanding among the world’s religions to show how faith is a powerful force for good in the modern world. By encouraging better understanding of other people’s beliefs, particularly among young people, the foundation aims to mediate and prevent conflict through increased recognition of shared values. This international organization’s efforts include programs that engage secondary school students of different faiths in learning directly from and about each other and partnerships with leading universities to engage the higher education sector in a deeper understanding of the interrelationship between faith and globalization. The foundation also leads a multi-faith social action program that mobilizes people of faith to work together on issues of health and global poverty, in order to help achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
Blair also spearheads the Africa Governance Initiative, which works in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, equipping visionary African leaders to deliver on their reform agendas, while tackling poverty and attracting sustainable investment.
In addition, he leads the Breaking the Climate Deadlock initiative. As the first major head of government to bring climate change to the top of the international political agenda at the 2005 G8 summit, Blair now works with world leaders to build consensus on a new comprehensive international climate policy framework.