Tom Lantos posthumously won the National Endowment for Democracy’s Service Medal.
The nonprofit group, which promotes democracy throughout the world, awarded the late U.S. congressman in June, but the State Department waited until Friday to publish a speech made at the event by Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky.
“As an original co-sponsor of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, Representative Lantos was a driving force behind the State Department’s report on ‘Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism’ released earlier this year – a report we were proud to dedicate to his memory,” Dobriansky said. “In that dedication, we wrote that Tom Lantos ‘attested with uncommon eloquence to a truth based on an unspeakable experience: (that) promoting tolerance is essential to building a world of freedom and peace.'”
Lantos (D-Calif.), who died in February, was the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress. He chaired the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. His successor, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), attended the event.
The organization honored Lantos because of his efforts in exposing human rights abuses in China; he was honored on the same day a number of Chinese dissidents also won democracy awards.