A Google executive who launched a Facebook page that sparked protests in Egypt and a North Carolina school board member who fought school redistricting plans over racial segregation concerns have been named to receive the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, it was announced Tuesday.
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said that Wael Ghonim and Elizabeth Redenbaugh will be presented with the awards at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston on May 23. Ghonim was named a recipient along with "the people of Egypt," the foundation said.
Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president, praised Ghonim and his fellow Egyptians for empowering a new generation of citizen activists in pursuit of democratic freedom through their protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. She also praised Redenbaugh, a New Hanover County, North Carolina, school board member, for challenging residents in her community to preserve quality public education.
"From a small county school district in North Carolina to Tahrir Square in Cairo, this year's Profile in Courage honorees show us the importance of individual acts of conscience," said Kennedy.
Ghonim, a marketing executive for Google, anonymously launched a Facebook page that played a key role in organizing the protests that eventually lead to the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Redenbaugh, first elected to the New Hanover County school board in 2008, stood in opposition to a redistricting plan she feared would lead to racial segregation of the county's middle schools.
Kennedy's family created the honor to recognize the work of elected public servants. Past recipients include President Gerald Ford and former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.