President Bush on Wednesday received the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award in recognition of his administration's efforts to advance HIV/AIDS, health and development efforts in Africa, the AP/Washington Post reports. The award -- which is given each year to leaders who make humanitarian commitments to Africa -- was presented to Bush by the U.S.-based not-for-profit group Africare at an event in Washington, D.C. (Simmons, AP/Washington Post, 11/12).
During the event, Bush spoke about his administration's initiatives to address HIV/AIDS, malaria and other health issues. Bush said he is particularly proud of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which was reauthorized earlier this year (Wolfson, VOA News, 11/13). According to the White House, PEPFAR has supported HIV/AIDS care for more than 6.6 million people worldwide and has helped prevent nearly 200,000 cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Bush called his administration's commitments to Africa a "labor of love," adding that "one of the most uplifting" experiences of his presidency was witnessing Africa's progress in addressing disease, education and hunger. Bush said the U.S. does "not believe in paternalism" but rather supports partnership with Africa "because we believe in the potential of the people on the continent," who have the "talent and ambition and resolve to overcome" challenges. Bush added that U.S. aid to Africa is important because "it is in our national security interest that we defeat hopelessness. It is in our economic interest that we help economies grow. And it is in our moral interest that when we find hunger and suffering, the [U.S.] responds in a robust and effective way" (AP/Washington Post, 11/12).
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