Steven Spielberg, 62, the master storyteller whose films “Amistad”, ‘Empire of the Sun”, and “Schindler’s List”, underscore the triumph of freedom over tyranny, will receive the 2009 Liberty Medal on Oct. 8, at the National Constitution Centre.
The award, along with a cheque for $100,000, will be presented by former President Bill Clinton, previous medal recipient, a long-time Spielberg friend, and a partner in activism.
The annual award, marking its 20th anniversary, honours those who strive to secure liberty for those without it.
Previous winners of the medal include South African President Nelson Mandela, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and U2 singer and social activist Bono.
Spielberg founded the Shoah Foundation that has projects in Rwanda. It was established in 1994 to preserve video and oral histories of Holocaust survivors.
The foundation is now working on collecting testimonies from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide survivors.
Spielberg’s wealth is estimated at $3.1 billion by Fortune magazine. He is a major donor to the Philadelphia-based National Museum of American Jewish History.
He directed four of the Top 25 all-time box office films (inflation-adjusted, they’re E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park).
Unadjusted for inflation, his movies had grossed $8.8 billion as of last year, according to Variety.