Page last updated at 18:45 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Blair wins $1m leadership prize

Tony Blair
Mr Blair was praised for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process

Former prime minister Tony Blair has won $1m (697,000) for his leadership on the world stage.

Mr Blair, now a Middle East envoy, will receive the Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University in Israel in May.

It marks his "foresight", "exceptional intelligence" and "steadfast determination" to end conflicts.

Mr Blair's spokesman said the money would be donated to the former Labour leader's recently set up charity for religious understanding.

'Morally courageous'

Mr Blair, prime minister from 1997 to 2007, is an envoy of the international Quartet (the US, EU, UN and Russia) on the Middle East peace process.

His entry as a Dan David laureate on the prize's website hails him as "one of the most outstanding statesmen of our era".

It praises his role in the Northern Ireland peace process and his "steadfast determination and morally courageous leadership" over Kosovo.

There is no mention of the decision to support the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The prize's citation states: "Early in his prime ministership, he came to two beliefs that guide him to today: first, that it is a mistake for the world to wait for America to solve all of the tough questions, and second, that there are some things a state may do within its borders that justify intervention even if the actions do not directly threaten another nation's interests."

A condition of the award is that 10% of the prize money is used to fund graduate students in the winner's field.

Mr Blair's spokesman confirmed that the rest of the money would be donated to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Three Dan David prizes are awarded every year, in "past, present and future" categories.

Mr Blair has won the present award, which last year went to environmental campaigner and former US vice-president Al Gore.

Earlier this month the former prime minister was welcomed as a "very good friend" by US President Barack Obama, as he gave a speech at the traditional National Prayer Breakfast.

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