Tuesday 26th July 2022 – Today the International Churchill Society recognises the extraordinary personal leadership and bravery of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by presenting him with The Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award.
Joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, members of the Churchill family, and International Churchill Society Chairman Laurence Geller, President Zelenskyy accepted the award virtually at an event in Downing Street alongside the Ukrainian Ambassador, Vadym Prystaiko.
This prestigious award recognises individuals that have demonstrated extraordinary leadership characterised by war time leader Sir Winston Churchill.
President Zelenskyy’s leadership through his country’s darkest days has inspired the world over. His fortitude and tenacity have changed the course of the war despite the odds being weighed heavily against him. The International Churchill Society is therefore proud today to recognise his extraordinary achievements over past six months.
The event took place in Downing Street today at 11.30 am with introductory remarks made by Chairman of the International Churchill Society, Laurence Geller CBE. He said, ‘Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope’. The ICS was established to memorialise these principles in Sir Winston’s name. Today, it is President Zelenskyy and his people that personify them.’
This was followed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s presentation of the award to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “After Sir Winston Churchill led this continent to peace in 1945, we had hoped that never again would we have to experience the kind of shocking barbarity which has been inflicted so relentlessly on the people of Ukraine in recent months.
“President Zelenskyy has faced a test of leadership just as severe as Churchill. He has, with quintessentially Churchillian composure, showed the world what moral and physical courage really mean. His defiance, dignity and serenity under extreme pressure has moved millions. It has been a true honour to call him my friend and it is my immense privilege to present him with this award today.”
President Zelenskyy said: “No one knows how much time and effort it will take to achieve that victory, but the victory is worthwhile. This will become a joint history, as prominent as it was during Churchill times. It will be quoted just like he was quoted. I would like to thank you, thank you for this award, for the award for the people of Ukraine.”
The presentation concluded with a short reception attended by International Churchill Society Members and family including Randolph Churchill, The Hon. Emma Soames and Jennie Churchill.
The Hon. Emma Soames said: “To my mind there has never been an easier case to make than that for President Zelenskyy as a wartime leader, showing so many of the same characteristics as my grandfather, bravery, courage, grace under pressure and a very close relationship with his people. The parallels go on and on”.
A number of Ukrainians who have moved to safety in the UK since the outbreak of war, Ukrainian soldiers who have received training from UK Armed Forces and veterans who have competed for Ukraine in the Warrior Games were also in attendance. BRAVO VICTOR and Blind Veterans UK, alongside the RAF, Team Lewis Foundation and Air Tanker, are helping Team Ukraine with accommodation, training and rehabilitation.
Former recipients of The Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award include HRH The Prince of Wales, The Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher, The Rt Hon John Major, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Former Secretary of State James Baker III.
Throughout his long and storied life Winston Churchill fought relentlessly for freedom and democracy. Against all odds, he stood defiant and rallied his nation and its allies. “This is the lesson,” Churchill said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large, or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
For further information or imagery in different formats contact:
[email protected] / +447870666143
Here’s the full event video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/extv28n6eokubxu/PM%20-%20Churchill%20Award%20Full%20Event.mov?dl=0
About International Churchill Society
The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill’s death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.
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