President Bush was the center of attention and outpouring of accolades Monday as Dr. Rick Warren awarded him the first ''International Medal of PEACE'' on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day for his unprecedented contribution to the fight against the deadly disease.
Tue, Dec. 02, 2008 Posted: 08:28 AM EST
WASHINGTON – President Bush was the center of attention and outpouring of accolades Monday as Dr. Rick Warren awarded him the first “International Medal of PEACE” on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day for his unprecedented contribution to the fight against the deadly disease.
“No man in history, no world leader, has ever done more for global health than President George W. Bush,” declared Warren at the Saddleback Church Civil Forum on Global Health, held at the Newseum in the nation’s capital.
The award is given on behalf of the Global Peace Coalition - a network of churches, businesses and individuals working together to solve humanitarian issues - to individuals that exemplify outstanding contribution towards alleviating the five global giants recognized by the Coalition: pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, self-centered leadership and spiritual emptiness.
Megachurch pastor and innovative thinker Warren praised President Bush and his administration for not only creating the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), but also following through to see $18.8 billion provided to combat HIV/AIDS – mainly in Africa – since 2003.
Within five years, the initiative has seen from 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa to over 2.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS receiving anti-retroviral treatment.
PEPFAR was also lauded for entrusting local African leaders with the decision-making and strategies process even though the money came from the United States.
“The innovation of trusting local leaders at the local level instead of saying we over here are going to tell you what to do,” Warren said approvingly, praising the system for not being paternalistic. “You let them determine the strategies in each country and that is how you got to 2 million [people on anti-retroviral treatment].”
The motivation to achieve the ambitious PEPFAR goal came from the belief that to whom much is given, much is required, Bush explained.
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