First Freedom Awards

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Previous Award Recipients


2013: President Taylor Reveley III, President of The College of William and Mary and John Stewart Bryan Professor of Jurisprudence

2012: The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Interim Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris, France; former Interim Dean of The General Theological Seminary in New York City; Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

2011: The Alexander Lebenstein Teacher Education Institute of the Virginia Holocaust Museum

2007: The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State; chairwoman, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs


2013: Rebiya Kadeer, Exiled President of the World Ughur Congress, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

2012: Canon Andrew White, Vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad; Founder of The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

2011: Asma Jahangir, Renowned human rights attorney and former Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

2010: President H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as president of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001

2009: W. Cole Durham, Jr., Susan Young Gates University Professor of Law and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School

2008: Jakob Finci, President, Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina; President, La Benevolencija (Jewish cultural, educational and humanitarian society of Bosnia and Herzegovina)

2007: Abdelfattah Amor, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; former President, UNESCO human-rights jury

2006: President Václav Havel , former President Czechoslovakia, and subsequently Czech Republic; active in human rights initiatives Charter 77, the Velvet Revolution and Shared Concern Initiative

2005: Father Elias Chacour, Founder and President, Israel’s Mar Elias Educational Institutions; three- time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize

2004: Prof. Alberto de la Hera, Director General, Department of Religious Affairs for the Spanish Ministry of Justice

2003: M. Farooq Kathwari, Chairman and CEO, Ethan Allen, Inc.; Founder, Kashmir Study Group

2002: John Wallach and Seeds of Peace, award-winning journalist and Founder, Seeds of Peace, an international conflict-resolution program for youth

2001: No recipient

2000: Mostar 2004 Project (including The Reves Center for International Studies at The College of William & Mary, War Child U.S.A. and The World Bank), organizations working to rehabilitate the cultural and physical vitality of the City of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, following the Balkans War

1999: His Excellency Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain for his leadership role in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations 


2013: Tad Stahnke, Director of Policy and Programs at Human Rights First

2012: Marc D. Stern, Associate General Legal Counsel for Legal Advocacy at the American Jewish Committee

2011: Dr. John Graz, Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association and widely published expert on international religious freedom

2010: Felice D. Gaer, Director of the American Jewish Committee Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and former Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

2009: Douglas Laycock, Yale Kamisar Collegiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School

2008: John Witte, Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the
Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University

2007: Kevin “Seamus” Hasson, Founder and Chairman, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

2006: The Honorable Chet Edwards , member U.S. House of Representatives; winner of the Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award

2005: The Honorable Robert A. Seiple, first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; Founder, Institute for Global Engagement

2004: Garry Wills, Ph.D., Pulitzer Prize-winning author; adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University

2003: Norman Lear, Emmy award-winning writer and television producer; Founder, People for the American Way

2002: Martin E. Marty, writer, theologian and distinguished authority on American religious tradition; Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago; Founder, Martin Marty Center

2001: The Honorable Frank R. Wolf, member U.S. House of Representatives; author, International Religious Freedom Act

2000: Bill & Judith Moyers, award-winning television documentary producers, Public Affairs Television

1999: The Honorable George J. Mitchell, former U.S. Senator; Chairman, Northern Ireland peace negotiations

1998: Steven C. Rockefeller, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Middlebury College; Chair, Earth Charter Drafting Committee

1997: Merrill D. Peterson, Thomas Jefferson Scholar and Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia

1996: The Honorable Richard C. Holbrooke, Chief Negotiator, Dayton Peace Accords; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations 


2013: Eric Treene, Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice

2012: Robert M. O'Neil, former President and Law Professor, University of Virginia; retired Founder and Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

2011: Rev. J. Brent Walker, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty and legal expert on church-state issues

2010: Melissa Rogers, Director of the Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Affairs

2009: Samuel Ericsson, President and CEO of Advocates International

2008: Dr. Charles C. Haynes, Senior Scholar, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center

2007: Dr. Azizah Y. al-Hibri, Founder and President, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights; professor of law, University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law

2006: Dr. Robert S. Alley, Professor Emeritus of Humanities, University of Richmond; author of numerous books on church/state issues

2005: William Lee Miller, scholar in Ethics and Institutions, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia; author, “The First Liberty: America’s Foundation in Religious Freedom”

2004: Rev. Dr. Robert Bluford, Jr., Founder, Historic Polegreen Church Foundation

2003: Rev. J. Fletcher Lowe, Jr., Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and Rev. James A. Payne, Founding Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

2002: Rev. Benjamin P. Campbell, Pastoral Director, Richmond Hill

2001: Jay M. Ipson, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000: Very Rev. C. N. Dombalis, Dean Emeritus, Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Richmond, Virginia

1999: Tommy P. Baer, former president, B’nai B’rith International

1998: Congregations of Saint James Episcopal Church and Temple Beth Ahabah, Richmond, Virginia

1997: Most Rev. Walter F. Sullivan, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

1996: Mary Tyler McClenahan and Neilson J. November, civic leaders, Richmond, Virginia

1995: James E. Ukrop and Robert S. Ukrop, civic and business leaders, Richmond, Virginia

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