Tony Blair wins million-dollar prize for global leadership
Former PM given Dan David award for his determination to find solutions to areas in conflict
guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 February 2009 17.28 GMT
Tony Blair at at the headquarters of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP
Tony Blair has won a prestigious million-dollar (£697,000) prize for his leadership on the world stage, it was announced today.
The former prime minister, now a Middle East peace envoy, will receive the Dan David prize for "his exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict".
The award is presented by the Dan David Foundation, based at Tel Aviv University, and a spokesman for Blair said the money would be donated to the former Labour leader's charity for religious understanding, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
Blair is an envoy of the international Quartet on the Middle East peace process, which comprises the US, EU, UN and Russia.
His entry as a Dan David laureate on the prize's website hails him as "one of the most outstanding statesmen of our era".
It praises his role in the Northern Ireland peace process and his "steadfast determination and morally courageous leadership" over Kosovo.
But there is no mention of the divisive decision to support the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Instead, the citation states: "Early in his prime ministership, he came to two beliefs that guide him to today: first, that it is a mistake for the world to wait for America to solve all of the tough questions, and second, that there are some things a state may do within its borders that justify intervention even if the actions do not directly threaten another nation's interests."
A condition of the award is that 10% of the prize money is used to fund graduate students in the winner's field.
A spokesman for the former prime minister's office confirmed that the rest of the money would be donated to the Faith Foundation.
Three Dan David prizes are awarded every year, in past, present and future categories.
Blair has won the present award, and follows in the footsteps of former US vice-president and environmental campaigner Al Gore, who won last year's prize.
The award will be presented in a ceremony on 17 May at Tel Aviv University.