2018 Lincoln Leadership Prize Recipient
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Mr. Blair is widely recognized around the world for his stewardship of the United Kingdom through an especially important period in its history, and has been lauded for his post-governmental philanthropic work enhancing government effectiveness, particularly in Africa, and promoting stability and understanding in the Middle East.
"We are delighted to honor Mr. Blair with the Lincoln Leadership Prize," said Ray McCaskey, Chair of the ALPLF Board of Directors. "He embodies the kind of leadership that President Lincoln would have recognized and appreciated. Through his tenure as Prime Minister and his global good works since then, Mr. Blair embodies the spirit of President Lincoln. President Lincoln and Mr. Blair both led their countries through tumultuous times and understood they would make decisions that might be unpopular with the general public," McCaskey added. "Yet, they remained singularly focused on the policies that would strengthen their countries and improve the lives of their constituents in the long term."
President Lincoln led the United States through the four-year Civil War. It was Lincoln's leadership that preserved the Union, paved the way for the abolition of slavery and strengthened the federal government.
Mr. Blair, who was the longest serving Labour Party Prime Minister (1997 to 2007), guided the Northern Ireland peace process, bringing the country together after decades of conflict. Throughout Mr. Blair's tenure he prioritized legislation that transformed the lives of citizens. Under Mr. Blair's leadership the UK Government introduced the National Minimum Wage and civil partnerships; revitalized public services, particularly health care and education through a program of investment and reform; increased maternity leave and pay; lifted the young and old out of poverty; and passed equality and human rights legislation.
Since leaving office, Mr. Blair has spent most of his time working in the Middle East and Africa, and on the fight against religiously based extremism. The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is supporting the next generation of leaders to meet some of the most difficult challenges they face today: helping countries alleviate poverty, raise living standards, foster religious and cultural tolerance, and advance peace and reconciliation. The Institute is also driving forward practical policy solutions to meet some of these challenges and re-kindle a vision of optimism for the future.
Mr. Blair will add the Lincoln Leadership Prize to other honors he has received including the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Liberty Medal. He also was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME magazine in 2008. Mr. Blair obtained his B.A. in Jurisprudence from St. John's College, Oxford, and then became a member of The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn and enrolled as a pupil barrister. His political career began in 1983 when he was elected a Member of Parliament for Sedgefield and went on to become the leader of the Labour Party in 1994 and Prime Minister in 1997.
"It is fitting that Mr. Blair be the first British citizen to receive this coveted prize, since President Lincoln had his own English roots. He was a descendant of Samuel Lincoln, an Englishman who migrated from Hingham, Norfolk," said Dr. Carla Knorowski, Chief Executive Officer of ALPLF.