Spielberg was honored for his artistic and personal commitment to the preservation of human rights. He accepted the medal from former U.S. President Bill Clinton in a public ceremony at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Clinton is the center's chairman.
"Continuing in the National Constitution Center's rich tradition of honoring distinguished leaders who have shown a commitment to change through action, we have once again chosen a highly deserving champion of freedom," Clinton said.
"I am thrilled to be honored by my dear friend, President Clinton, and to be recognized by an organization unprecedented in its devotion to the most relevant and significant document in our nation's history," Spielberg said. "It's truly humbling to be added to the distinguished list of past recipients, a group of men and women whom I admire deeply for their commitment to educating the world about the importance of freedom and the blessings of liberty."
"The Founding Fathers called upon each of us to serve as active participants in our democracy. Through his work in film and philanthropy, Steven Spielberg has heeded that call by reminding us of the power each of us has to make a difference," National Constitution Center President and Chief Executive Officer Linda E. Johnson said.
Among Spielberg's films are "The Color Purple," "Empire of the Sun," "Schindler's List," "Amistad" and "Saving Private Ryan."