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Blair among $1M Dan David prize winners

Feb. 16, 2009 at 6:40 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is among this year's winners of $1 million Dan David Prizes, the philanthropist's foundation announced Monday.

Blair was recognized in the "Present Leadership" category.

Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore, was awarded the prize for Future Global Public Health.

Paolo De Bernardis, physics professor at the University of La Sapienza in Rome; Andrew E. Lange, physics professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena; and Paul Richards, physics professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley; shared the Past Astrophysics-History of the Universe prize.

In announcing the winners on its Web site, the Dan David Foundation cited Blair as "one of the most outstanding statesmen of our era," saying he showed "exceptional intelligence and foresight" and demonstrated "moral courage and leadership."

It noted his work to revitalize the Labor Party and in helping broker peace in Northern Ireland and Kosovo but made no mention of his role in the Iraq war. Blair is an international envoy to the Middle East.

Gallo was recognized for his HIV research, including his role in the development of "a robust, simple" blood test for the human immunodeficiency virus. De Bernardis, Lange and Richards were cited for demonstrating for the first time the "lack of curvature" of the universe and determining its geometry.

David, who turns 80 May 23, is the Romanian-born president of Photo Me International PLC.

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