June 2009 Ethical Hero(es) – Three Profiles in Courage

Published: June 12, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
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Profiles in CourageHeroes are around us every day. They may not make the headlines like U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger or Captain Richard Phillips held by Somali pirates.

In an age of arrogance and outrage, there are individuals who emerge that show us – teach us that virtue can triumph over vice; where respect and responsibility can still finish first.

What follows comes from a press release by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

“Two U.S. federal regulators who sounded early warnings on the financial crisis and a Liberian peace activist who helped end that nation’s civil war were honored for their efforts Monday at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

“Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairwoman Sheila Bair, former chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Brooksley Born, and peace activist Leymah Gbowee (LAY’-mah BOH’-wee) were presented with Profile in Courage Awards, annual honors named for a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by John F. Kennedy.

“Bair was one of the first to speak out about the subprime lending crisis, and Born warned a decade ago that unregulated financial contracts, including credit default swaps, could pose dangers to the economy. Gbowee organized a group of Christian and Muslim women to challenge Liberia’s warlords.

“In accepting her award, Bair said she was proud to join the list of those who have received past Profile in Courage awards. ‘I’m particularly pleased to be joining two other female awardees who stood up when some of their male counterparts failed to act, or worse, actively fought them,’ she said.

“Gbowee received her award on behalf of the Liberian women who were featured in the Pray the Devil Back to Hell documentary about Liberia’s civil war.

“For us women of Liberia, this award is a call that we will keep walking until peace, justice and the rights of woman (are) not a dream,” Gbowee said, “but a thing of the present.”

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