2013: The Year Everyone Gave Hillary Clinton an Award

Dec 27, 2013 10:17am
GTY hillary clinton kab 131227 16x9 608 2013: The Year Everyone Gave Hillary Clinton an Award

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Hillary Clinton has already declared 2014 as the “year of the baby” (good luck, Chelsea), but for Clinton herself, 2013 was the “year of the award.”

Less than one year after leaving her role as secretary of state, Clinton has made the rounds on the awards circuit, collecting honors and accolades for her 31 years of public service.

Clinton received at least 19 awards this year, with the Washington Post calling this her “pre-campaign campaign.” And as the former first lady contemplates a presidential bid in 2016, the awards circuit has kept her in the public spotlight, enabling her to speak out on a wide range of issues while avoiding political controversy.

If the Clinton home houses a “Wall of Hillary,” it might be running out of space. ABC News has compiled a selection of Clinton’s awards from the past year, and here are the highlights:

Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service

In her first public appearance after leaving the State Department in February, Clinton was awarded the Pentagon’s highest honor for private citizens by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

“I like being on the American team, not the State Department team, not the Defense Department team, not the partisan team,” Clinton said in her acceptance speech. “I think when we take these positions and take that oath of office, we really pledge to be part of the American team.”

Panetta praised Clinton’s foreign policy prowess. “Her ability, in the end, to be very pragmatic about what it takes to get something done is, I think, part of her genius as a leader,” he said. “We have fought on opposite sides of the issues. I’d sure as hell rather have her on my side than be against me, because she is so good in making her arguments.”

Michael Kors Award for Outstanding Community Service

Scrunchie-wearing Clinton was honored with the first ever Michael Kors Award for her humanitarian efforts by designer Kors and  Vogue  editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

“She is a dedicated and enormously effective humanitarian whose commitment to community service encompasses the whole planet,” said Kors. “Thanks to her talent, devotion and unrelenting efforts on behalf of those with much less, she has improved millions of lives and helped lay the foundation for a better, more just world.”

The award further established Clinton’s relationship with the fashion world. In July, the self-described “hair icon” and “pantsuit aficionado” presented Oscar de la Renta with the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s annual award, joking about her latest show pitch, “Project Pantsuit.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center

The former first lady of Arkansas won not an award but an entire library in July. Clinton was celebrated at the opening of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center in Little Rock, Ark.

Clinton christened the library with a reading of Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” according to USA Today.

The Central Arkansas Library System’s Board of Trustees voted to name the library in Clinton’s honor to “specifically acknowledge the work she’d done as a citizen of Arkansas,” as well as her “continued work at the national and international levels to improve the lives of all the world’s children.”

American Bar Association Medal

In 2013, the American Bar Association gave Clinton its highest honor for her pursuit of social justice and transforming the legal profession for women.

The 2008 presidential candidate took a strong policy turn in her acceptance speech, denouncing the Supreme Court’s invalidation of preclearance requirements in the Voting Rights Act.

“In the weeks since the [Supreme Court's] ruling, there has been an unseemly rush to exact or enforce laws that will make it harder for some of our fellow Americans to vote,” Clinton said. “Unless we act now citizens will be disenfranchised and victimized by the law instead of served by it.”

Clinton, who received her law degree from Yale University, laid out a three-part plan to address what she called an “assault on voting rights,” proving her ability to actively craft policy outside public office while fueling 2016 speculation.

Helen Keller Humanitarian Award

Helen Keller International presented Clinton with the Helen Keller Humanitarian Award for her dedication to improving nutrition around the world.

“Helen Keller definitely would have approved,” said HKI President and CEO Kathy Spahn. “She and Secretary Clinton have so much in common. They are strong, smart, compassionate, fearless women who have traveled around the world to help those who are less fortunate.”

In her acceptance speech at the May ceremony, Clinton, who worked with HKI as first lady to highlight the importance of vitamin A, stressed the importance of fact-based reasoning in public and private sector decision-making, particularly to solve problems of health and nutrition around the world.

The Elton John Foundation’s Founders’ Award

In October, pop star and AIDS activist Elton John presented Clinton with his signature award for her commitment to human rights at a benefit attended by the likes of Billy Joel, Alec Baldwin, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Lisa Marie Presley and Courtney Love.

“She’s a great human rights campaigner for people of color, for people of sexual orientation,” John told the Associated Press. “She’s made our fight easier by being such a staunch supporter of AIDS and for people’s human rights.”
“I thank you, but I know there’s more for us to do,” Clinton said, adding that she hopes to see an “AIDS-free generation.” “Humans may discriminate, but viruses don’t.”

National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal

Clinton shared a stage in September with another potential 2016 candidate, Jeb Bush, at the Philadelphia ceremony to honor her work for freedom around the world.

Clinton’s remarks cautioned against partisan gridlock in Washington. “When we let partisanship override citizenship,” she said, “When we fail to make progress on the challenges facing our people here at home, our standing in the world suffers.”

Bush poked fun at the 2016 speculation, joking, “Hillary Clinton and I come from different political parties, and we disagree about a few things. But we do agree on the wisdom of the American people, especially those in Iowa, and New Hampshire and South Carolina.”

Women for Women International’s Champion of Peace Award

In December, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg presented the  Champion of Peace award to Clinton for her commitment to empowering and advancing the rights of women around the world.

“You cannot have real peace and security if you marginalize and exclude women,” Clinton said in her acceptance speech. “You cannot have decent, just societies if you abuse women. You cannot move on a path to democracy and open economies if you isolate and marginalize half the population. For some that was self-evident, others have had their eyes opened over the past 20 years.”

It was a busy day for Clinton, who also received the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s Global Impact Award that same evening.

Lantos Human Rights Prize

The Lantos Foundation, named in honor of the late human rights activist and Holocaust survivor Rep. Tom Lantos, gave Clinton its highest award for her human rights and Internet freedom advocacy in December.

Clinton said that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights” at the 1995 United Nations World Conference on Women. Her proclamation “changed the way the world thinks about human rights and opened doors for women in a way that only Hillary Clinton could,” Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation, said in a statement.

The former Secretary of State’s advocacy for Internet freedom stemmed from her 2010 speech. “On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does,” said Clinton. “We stand for a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.”

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