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CONTRIBUTION · 11th September 2012
Mark Kennedy - PostMedia News
For being a champion of democracy, freedom and human rights

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being hailed as “World Statesman of the Year” by an American organization that previously feted Jean Chretie, British prime minister Gordon Brown and and Korean president Lee Myung-bak.

The award, for his work as “a champion of democracy, freedom and human rights”, comes from an organization called the Appeal of Conscience Foundation,

The organization paying tribute to Harper was founded in 1965 by Rabbi Arthur Schneier. Its website says the Foundation has worked on behalf of religious freedom and human rights throughout the world.

Its board includes former U.S. president Bill Clinton and former U.S. secretaries of state Madeleine Albright, James Baker, retired general Colin Powell and George Schultz.

“This interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders promotes peace, tolerance and ethnic conflict resolution,” says the website. “The Foundation believes that freedom, democracy and human rights are the fundamental values that give nations of the world their best hope for peace, security and shared prosperity.”

The event at New York’s famous Waldorf Astoria hotel takes place the same week that the United Nations’ 67th general assembly convenes for high-level debate, but Harper will not be making a speech at the world body.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will instead represent Canada at the UN general assembly.

Among the foundation’s previous “world statesman of the year” recipients were Chretien in 2002, Australian prime minister John Howard in 2005, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008 and Lee Myung-bak in 2011.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Czech Vaclav Havel, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher have also been recognized over the years by the foundation — although not all have showed up in New York to receive their awards.
Good for PM Harper
Comment by James Ippel on 13th September 2012
Our Prime Minister is joining a pretty elite group of world leaders in being recognized for this award, but of course there muct always be detractors.
Too damn bad that political slant must enter into this, and you just can'nt accept the fact that someone other than one of your political stripe was not recognized. Do you also degrenate American Presidents (current and past) who stand by Israel?
Not much of an honour
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 11th September 2012
This is only due to Harper's love-in with Israel and is not a true reflection of our PM's empathy, or lack thereof, for freedom, democracy and human rights. Take note who the bestower is.