Recipients of the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ are selected by a distinguished and bipartisan committee of national political and community leaders. The members of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Committee are:
Albert R. Hunt, Chairman of the Profile in Courage Award Committee, is Washington Executive editor of Bloomberg News. He directs the 200 reporters and editors in Bloomberg's capital bureau; writes a weekly column on politics for the International Herald Tribune and Bloomberg, and hosts a weekly television show, Political Capital, for Bloomberg Television. Prior to taking his current job in January 2005, Hunt worked for the Wall Street Journal, 35 years in Washington as a reporter, bureau chief, and executive Washington editor. He also has been a regular participant on numerous public affairs television, including seventeen years on CNN's Capitol Gang.
Christopher J. Dodd is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, which serves as the voice and advocate of the U.S. motion picture, home video and television industries around the world. Senator Dodd served in the United States Congress representing Connecticut for 36 years – six years in the House of Representatives and thirty years in the U.S. Senate. As a key participant in nearly every major national policy debate over the past three decades, Dodd authored or co-authored major legislation in the areas of education, health, financial services, foreign policy, and election reform. In his last term in the Senate, Senator Dodd enacted several major pieces of legislation. He played a decisive role in writing the significant health care reform bill with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Dodd was also the principal author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, crafted in the wake of one of the worst economic downturns in history. A recipient of the Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Public Service Award recognizing leadership in foreign policy, and a former senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Dodd is a recognized expert on Latin America. During his tenure in Congress he also traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and Latin America and served as Co-Chair of the U.S. – India Senate Caucus. Following his graduation from Providence College, Senator Dodd answered John F. Kennedy’s call to service and joined the Peace Corps, serving in the Dominican Republic from 1966 to1968. Upon returning to the United States, Senator Dodd enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard and Army Reserves. In 1972, he earned a law degree from the Brandeis School of Law at University Of Louisville. He practiced law in New London, Connecticut before his election to Congress in 1974.
U.S. Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-Maryland) represents Maryland’s 4th Congressional District. She was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 110th Congress in June 2008, and began her first full-term in the 111th Congress in 2009. Representative Edwards has enjoyed a diverse career as a nonprofit public interest and in the private sector on NASA’s Spacelab project. Just prior to serving in Congress, she was the executive director of the Arca Foundation in Washington, DC. Representative Edwards was the co-founder and executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence where she led the effort to pass The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Rep. Edwards completed undergraduate studies at Wake Forest University and received her Juris Doctor from Franklin Pierce Law Center.
Kenneth R. Feinberg, Chairman of the Kennedy Library Foundation’s Board of Directors, is Founder and Managing Partner of Feinberg Rozen, LLP – the nation's foremost law firm for mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution. Mr. Feinberg worked for five years as an administrative assistant and chief of staff for U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and as an Assistant United States Attorney. One of the nation's leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, Mr. Feinberg was appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft to be Special Master of the U.S. Government's September 11th Victim Compensation Fund which distributed nearly $7 billion to more than 5,000 victims and families of victims of 9/11. Three years later, Mr. Feinberg agreed to administrate the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, set up for the benefit of victims' families in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting. In July 2009, Mr. Feinberg was appointed by the Obama Administration as the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation charged with overseeing the compensation of top executives at companies which received federal bailout assistance. In 2010 President Obama asked Feinberg to serve as administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund establish by British Petroleum to compensate those who suffered financial loss as a result of the Gulf oil spill.
U.S. Senator Lindsey O. Graham (R-South Carolina) was elected to serve as United States Senator on November 5, 2002. A native South Carolinian, Graham earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Upon leaving the active duty Air Force in 1989, Graham joined the South Carolina Air National Guard where he served until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. Since 1995, Graham has continued to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is one of only two U.S. Senators currently serving in the Guard or Reserves. He is a colonel and is assigned as a Senior Instructor at the Air Force JAG School.
Antonia Hernandez is president and CEO of the California Community Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Southern California. Previously, she was president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a national nonprofit litigation and advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of the nation's 35 million Latinos. An expert in civil rights and immigration issues, Hernández began her legal career as a staff attorney with the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. She also worked as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary before joining MALDEF in 1981 as regional counsel in Washington, D.C.
Elaine Jones is President and Director-Counsel, Emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation's oldest law firm fighting for equal rights and justice for people of color, women, and the poor. One of America's foremost civil rights lawyers, she was the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Law, and the first African-American elected to the American Bar Association's Board of Governors. When Ms. Jones took the helm of the Legal Defense Fund in 1993, she became the first woman to head the organization. After graduating with honors in political science from Howard University, Ms. Jones joined the Peace Corps and became one of the first African Americans to serve in Turkey. In her early years at LDF, Ms. Jones continued to blaze trails, becoming one of the first African American women to defend death row inmates. Only two years out of law school, she was counsel of record in Furman v. Georgia, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that abolished the death penalty in 37 states for 12 years. After a 32 year tenure with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Ms. Jones stepped down on May 1, 2004.
Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, is an attorney and the editor of the New York Times bestselling "A Family of Poems - My Favorite Poetry for Children," "A Patriot's Handbook," "The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis" and "Profiles in Courage for Our Time," and the co-author of "The Right to Privacy" and "In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action." She is Vice-Chair of the Fund for Public Schools, which has raised over $260 million in private support for New York city's public schools. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, she is a Director of the Commission on Presidential Debates and serves as Honorary Chair of the American Ballet Theatre.
Paul G. Kirk, Jr., is a former U.S. Senator (D-Massachusetts) and a founding board member of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Having served for nearly two decades as Chairman of the Board of Directors, in September 2009, Kirk resigned from his post when Governor Deval Patrick appointed him interim United States Senator from Massachusetts to fill the seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kirk is a board member and former chairman of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for International Affairs, and co-founder and co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates. He served as both the chairman and the treasurer of the Democratic Party and as special assistant for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Kirk is affiliated with the law firm Sullivan & Worcester LLP of Boston, Massachusetts of which he was a partner from 1977-1990. He is chairman and CEO of Kirk & Associates, Inc., a business advisory and consulting firm located in Boston.
Martha Minow, the Dean and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, Minow served on the Independent International Commission Kosovo and helped to launch Imagine Co-existence, a program of the U.N .High Commissioner for Refugees, to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies. She currently works on the Divided Cities initiative which is building an alliance of global cities dealing with ethnic, religious, or political divisions. In August 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Dean Minow to the board of the Legal Services Corporation, a bi-partisan, government-sponsored organization that provides civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. The U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment on March 19, 2010 and she now serves as Vice-Chair. After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Minow received a master’s degree in education from Harvard and her law degree from Yale. She clerked for Judge David Bazelon of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Shari E. Redstone is the President of National Amusements, Inc., a world leader in the motion picture exhibition industry operating more than 1,500 movie screens in the U.S., U.K., Latin America and Russia under its Showcase, Multiplex, Cinema de Lux, and KinoStar brands. Based in Dedham, Massachusetts, National Amusements is a closely held company operating under the third generation of leadership by the Redstone family. National Amusements is the parent company of both CBS Corporation and Viacom of which Ms. Redstone is a member of the Board of Directors.
John Seigenthaler is founder of the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. A former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, he served for 43 years as an award-winning reporter, editor and publisher for The Tennessean, Nashville's morning newspaper, and was founding editorial director of USA TODAY. In the early 1960s he served as administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and distinguished himself in the civil rights movement as chief negotiator with Alabama Governor George Wallace during the Freedom Rides. Seigenthaler served with distinction as the Chair of the Profile in Courage Award Committee from 1996-2006.
David M. Shribman is the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He came to Pittsburgh from The Boston Globe where he was assistant managing editor, columnist and Washington bureau chief. Shribman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1995 for his coverage of Washington and the American political scene. Shribman joined The Boston Globe after serving as national political correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, he covered Congress and national politics for The New York Times and was a member of the national staff of The Washington Star. A native of Salem, Massachusetts, he began his career at The Buffalo Evening News, where he worked on the city staff before being assigned to the paper's Washington bureau.
U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 and to the United States Senate in 1994. Before her election to the Senate in 1994, Olympia Snowe represented Maine’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for sixteen years. Senator Snowe is only the fourth woman in history to be elected to both houses of Congress and the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. When first elected to Congress in 1978, at the age of 31, Olympia Snowe was the youngest Republican woman, and the first Greek-American woman, ever elected to Congress. During her tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, she co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Women’s issues for ten years, and provided leadership in establishing the Office of Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.