The medal, established in 1988, honors an individual or organization that has "demonstrated leadership and vision in the pursuit of liberty of conscience or freedom from oppression, ignorance, or deprivation." It is administered by the nonprofit Philadelphia Foundation and comes with a $100,000 prize. The selection of the Ukrainian leader was announced by the foundation on 28 June.
"President Yushchenko's courageous leadership in guiding the 'Orange Revolution' is reminiscent of the heroism of Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia and is likely to inspire other freedom-seeking, democracy-loving people," said Martin Meyerson, chairman of the medal's International Selection Commission. "Now, as a charismatic political leader, he is transforming his country into a modern civil society. As a shaper of a new nation, he merits being seen as the Ukraine's George Washington."
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