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Wilson Center Congratulates Congressman Lee Hamilton on Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Wilson Center is proud to congratulate former Wilson Center President and Director, Congressman Lee Hamilton, on being named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the United States’ highest civilian honor, and is being presented to Hamilton for his leadership on national security issues in Congress and the 9/11 Commission, as well as his advocacy for bipartisanship and effective governance at the Wilson Center and Center on Congress at Indiana University. 

“Lee has been a personal mentor to me for decades,” said former Congresswoman Jane Harman, his successor as President of the Wilson Center. “His service in Congress, here at Wilson, and on numerous 9/11 initiatives embodies the skill sets so desperately needed to craft effective bipartisan foreign policy.”

Hamilton served as President and Director of the Wilson Center from 1999 to 2010, during which time he oversaw the expansion of the Center’s research programs to cover every section of the globe. Wilson Center programs added under his tenure include the Middle East Program, Africa Program, Science Technology and Innovation Program, and the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.

“Lee Hamilton’s service to the nation, to the State of Indiana, and to intellectual integrity through his leadership of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is unparalleled,” said Joseph B. Gildenhorn, Chairman of the Board of the Wilson Center from 2002 to 2013. “No one is more deserving of this extraordinary award.”

“Lee Hamilton had an extraordinary career, and was and remains an inspiring role model and mentor to hundreds who have crossed paths with him” said Mike Van Dusen, Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center from 1999 to 2012. “This Presidential Medal is a marvelous and appropriate tribute. Lee approached all tasks with humility, patience, and respect for others, but also with determination, persistence, and an enduring commitment to do the right thing and make the world a better place.”

View full press release from the White House here.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Read Lee Hamilton’s full bio
  1. The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world.


Lee H. Hamilton

Lee H. Hamilton

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