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Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health to Honor President George W. Bush on World AIDS Day:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Rick Warren will present President George W. Bush with the first "International Medal of PEACE" from the Global PEACE Coalition in recognition of his unprecedented contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases during the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health, to be held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

At the Forum, Warren will engage both President Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush in candid conversation regarding past accomplishments and priorities moving forward regarding international health issues -- including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. President-elect Barack Obama will provide a video-taped message addressing the future of global health.

"No U.S. president or political leader has done more for global health than this Administration, which has raised the bar on America's role and responsibility for providing critical humanitarian assistance around the world," Warren said. "Over the past eight years, the President and Mrs. Bush have traveled the globe as they and their staffs have worked tirelessly to bring awareness and solutions to pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, and we are privileged to honor their efforts on World AIDS Day."

The "International Medal of PEACE" is given on behalf of the Global PEACE Coalition for outstanding contribution toward alleviating the five global giants recognized by the Coalition, including pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, self-centered leadership and spiritual emptiness. The Coalition is a network of churches, businesses and individuals cooperating together to solve humanitarian issues through the PEACE Plan, an effort to mobilize 1 billion Christians to Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation.

During the Forum, Warren will recognize President Bush and his Administration for their implementation and success of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has provided $18.8 billion since 2003 to combat global HIV/AIDS. Congress has recently authorized an additional $48 billion for ongoing efforts to address this pandemic as well as tuberculosis and malaria over the next five years.

"As my wife Kay and I have been implementing the PEACE Plan in 68 developing countries, we have seen firsthand many of the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been saved through PEPFAR and the President's Malaria Initiative," Warren said. "I hope that this Forum will show the American people that our global health programs represent more than compassionate humanitarian efforts, but are also a strong, prudent pillar of American foreign policy."

The historic event will be appropriately held at the Newseum, a 250,000-square-foot museum of news, located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Dedicated to offering visitors an interactive experience of how and why news is made, the Newseum will make news in and of itself by hosting this Forum, which will be the first original broadcast inside its 535-seat theater.

Leading representatives from the U.S. Congress; faith- and community-based organizations; non-governmental organizations; the diplomatic community; multilateral groups; foundations; local churches and representatives from other private sector entities are being invited to attend this invitation-only, ticketed event.

Saddleback Church has historically observed World AIDS Day by hosting a Global Summit on AIDS and The Church, drawing thousands of participants and featuring global keynote speakers and informative sessions led by experts in business, government, medicine, non-profits and ministry who are working locally and globally in an attempt to end AIDS.

The Summit, held the past three years at Saddleback Church, was strategically and historically unique, built entirely around a practical "local church-based" strategy designed to mobilize millions of congregations around the world for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

The Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health will be held in lieu of this year's Global Summit on AIDS and The Church. The Saddleback Civil Forums were established to promote civil discourse and the common good of all. The most recent, The Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency, was held at Saddleback Church in August and featured presumptive presidential nominees Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to discuss issues of leadership. The two-hour event featured each candidate, separately, in a conversational question and answer format with Warren.

"In addition to my primary calling to proclaim the Gospel message, these Civil Forums further my three other life goals: helping individuals accept responsibility, helping the Church regain credibility and encouraging our society to return to civility," Warren said.

Founded in 1980 by the Warrens, Saddleback Church is located in Lake Forest, Calif. With an average weekly attendance of 22,000, it is one of the five largest churches in America. For additional information about the Saddleback HIV/AIDS Initiatives, visit or


A live, five-camera switched feed of the entire program will be provided to any networks or outlets interested in downlinking or carrying video or audio of this program. It will also be live-streamed to Contact Greg Flessing at 530.888.7676, or via e-mail at

To sign up for the event, all media MUST CALL the White House Office of Media Affairs at 202.456.6238 no later than 5:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Credentials will be issued on-site on the day of the event.

Future media alerts, updates and follow-up news releases about this event will be posted, as available, at

     A. Larry Ross                972.267.1111
     Vicki Morgan                 469.774.6377

SOURCE Saddleback Church
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