Boston U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, the heroes of Sept. 11 and a former Illinois mayor who spoke out against anti-Muslim bigotry were honored Monday with the 2002 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Awards.
The John F. Kennedy Library presents the award to people who have stood up against opposition to follow their conscience.
Representatives of the New York City fire and police departments and the Army received the award for their response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Annan, 63, of Ghana, was honored for his efforts to combat AIDS, pursue peace and shape a world response to terrorism.
In his acceptance speech, Annan called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to end their violence.
"This is when leaders must make decisions of conscience and choose compromise over conflict, negotiation over violence and peace over war," Annan said.
Former Palos Heights, Ill., Mayor Dean Koldenhoven received the award for speaking out against intolerance toward the local Islamic community, which wanted to convert a church into a mosque. He lost his bid for re-election last year.
The awards are named after President Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Profiles in Courage," which tells the stories of eight U.S. politicians who risked their careers to fight for what they believed in.