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Obama to visit Boston in May to receive Kennedy award

Former President Barack Obama will be presented with the 2017 Centennial John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Reuters

With his signature law targeted for repeal by the new White House, former President Barack Obama will visit Boston's Columbia Point in early May to receive the 2017 Centennial John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Given a couple weeks before the 100-year anniversary of Kennedy's birth, the award will be presented to the two-term Democrat by Caroline Kennedy, who was Obama's ambassador to Japan, and her son Jack Schlossberg. Caroline Kennedy is the daughter of the late president, who was born in Brookline.

Obama's legacy leading the nation for eight years has yet to be settled, and President Donald Trump has committed himself to dismantling many of Obama's programs and setting the country on a new course.

The award will be presented at a May 7 gala at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, which will be chaired by General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt.

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The public and the news media will likely by highly attuned to whether the former president criticizes his successor or makes a case for preserving the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"It's been more than half a century since John F. Kennedy asked us to cast aside our narrow self-interest and take up the chase of a greater ambition: our collective capacity to do big things, especially when it's hard," Obama said in a statement released by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. "It was a call to citizenship as true as the words of our founding and a conviction that helped guide me to public service as a younger man - a belief in the possibilities of our democracy and the power of what we, the people, can do together.

"Even today, amidst the noisy and too often trivial pursuits of the politics of our time, it's a summons to service that rings as loudly as ever. Part of that is thanks to an extraordinary family that continues to light the fire of imagination and plant the seed of noble ambition in the minds of each new generation of Americans. Like so many Americans, I am grateful for the Kennedy family's legacy of service. And I am deeply humbled to receive the Profile in Courage Award."

Last year's recipient was Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who "personally welcomed a family of Syrian refugees to New Haven after the governor of Indiana turned them away" in the days after a 2015 terrorist attack in Paris that brought new scrutiny to the nation's refugee policy. Other former presidents to receive the honor are George H.W. Bush (2014) and the late Gerald Ford (2001).

"Profiles in Courage" was the title of Kennedy's book that helped his political star rise before his 1960 presidential victory. Obama's book "Dreams from My Father" helped raise his profile ahead of his successful 2008 White House run.

 
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