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October 16, 2017

John Kerry Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at Edward M. Kennedy Institute Annual Dinner

Secretary John Kerry is first recipient of Kennedy Institute Award

BOSTON – Last evening, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate honored John Kerry with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Public Service at its annual dinner. The event was attended by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. and nearly 400 other distinguished guests. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden provided remarks in absentia.

“I have known John Kerry as a solider, as peacemaker, as Senator, and as friend. He understands that America’s strength comes from the power of our ideas,” said Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Co-Founder and President of the Board of the Institute, quoting her late husband. “Tonight, John Kerry is the first recipient of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute Lifetime Achievement Award. I can think of no one more deserving.”

Secretary Kerry has had a distinguished career in public service including serving in the U.S. Navy as a decorated combat veteran, Assistant District Attorney, Lieutenant Governor and five-term U.S. Senator as well as U.S. Secretary of State. Throughout Kerry’s career his moral convictions, belief in American values, and unique approach to diplomacy have guided his leadership.

“Words alone can’t convey my appreciation for this honor, both because of the legacy upon which the Edward M. Kennedy Institute is built, and its commitment to the kind of Senate I revere, but also because of the vision and determination of Vicki and Ted’s entire family who carry that commitment forward for a new generation. Ted and Vicki’s friendship and support in good times and tough times has been a great gift,” said Secretary Kerry in his remarks during the event. “Many often ask what Teddy would do today if he were in the Senate. In my mind, he’d do exactly what he did when I first got to know him in 1971: he would stand firm on principle – not just in defense of a position, but in defense of an institution called the United States Senate which was designed by the Framers to meet the test of times like these – not by standing still, not by acquiescing, but by standing up to those who would damage our country. If there were ever a moment for the Senate to be the Senate again, this is it.”

“John Kerry helped make America more respected in the world, and a better, stronger place than it was when he began his journey in public service,” said President Obama per a letter read at the event. “I am grateful for John’s friendship, and for all that he has contributed to the life of this country we love.”

The Institute honored Secretary Kerry for his outstanding public service including his continued support of the Institute’s mission to educate and engage the public, especially students, about the important role the U.S. Senate and being an active citizen is to our democracy.

Since opening in 2015, the Institute has welcomed more than 40,000 students from 400 schools to become Senators for a Day. Visitors learn about the legislative process through the Institute’s Senate Immersion Module program, which was nationally recognized in 2017 with a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement in the category of connected immersion in education. In 2016, the British Guild of Travel Writers recognized the Institute as one of the top five new tourism destinations in the wider world category.

A video tribute screened at the dinner that included comments from former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and others, can be viewed at

About the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of our communities. For more information, please visit


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