The Lincoln Leadership Prize, awarded annually by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, honors outstanding individuals for a lifetime of service in the spirit of 16th President Abraham Lincoln. Honorees are described as those who manifest great strength of character, individual conscience, and an unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy. Steven Spielberg will receive the award during a dinner March 19 at the Hilton Chicago, presented by Sally Field. ”This is an extraordinary honor. For me, Lincoln’s unprecedented commitment to the cause of democracy is one of the most important examples of leadership our nation has ever seen,” said Spielberg. “I am humbled to receive an award that embodies both his legacy and the profound contributions he made to this country.”
Previous honorees include President Bill Clinton, former Polish President Lech Walesa, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Astronaut James A. Lovell Jr., and the late television journalist Tim Russert.
A three-time Academy Award winner, Spielberg’s Lincoln nabbed 12 Oscar nominations last year, winning two, including Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. Spielberg also is active in many philanthropic causes, having established The Righteous Persons Foundation, as well as the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, now the USC Shoah Foundation. He is also Chairman Emeritus of the Starlight Children’s Foundation.