Accessibility links

Kennedy Leaves Global Legacy


The late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy was not just an American political figure, he also made a distinct mark around the world. Praise from international leaders has been pouring in since the news of his passing from brain cancer.

Leaders from around the globe have reached out to share fond memories and admiration of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy.

In his nearly 50 years in the Senate, Kennedy had more impact on domestic issues than foreign policy, but he still made a global mark.

Senator Kennedy, who came from an Irish Catholic family, helped negotiate peace in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. He was also a strong opponent of the war in Vietnam and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq during the Bush administration.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Kennedy made an extraordinary contribution to the United States' role in the world.

"When you look at the content of this legislative career, spanning a whole breadth of public policy, health policy, social policy, foreign policy. This has been a unique career," he said.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says Kennedy was able to put his policies into action.

"Possibly, he is one of the most effective members of the Congress that served during the last 20 years," he said.

One of the accomplishments Kennedy is most known for on the world stage is helping to secure the success of the Northern Ireland peace process. The negotiations led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of sectarian violence in the British province.

Earlier this year, Britain awarded Kennedy an honorary knighthood for his services.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who oversaw the Good Friday negotiations, says Kennedy was a "true public servant committed to the values of fairness and opportunity."

Though he was born to one of the wealthiest families in the United States, Kennedy earned a reputation as a defender of the underprivileged.

The senator was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War. He also led the Congressional effort to impose sanctions on South Africa over apartheid in the 1980s, fought for human rights in Chile, and championed the needs of refugees around the world.

In 2002, he voted against authorizing the Iraq war, a decision he later called "the best vote" he had made since becoming a senator in 1962.

Israeli President Shimon Peres says Kennedy was a true independent.

"Ted Kennedy was a great American leader who was also a great friend for the state of Israel. He has had a strong and original voice that was held and respected all over the world. He was totally independent in his way of thinking and in his way of expressing things," he said.

During his long career, that independent way of thinking made Kennedy a strong champion of liberal causes. He called reforming the U.S. health care system the cause of his life, but also worked to influence civil rights, education and immigration.

Despite his Catholic background, Kennedy also became a strong advocate of abortion rights and later, a supporter of same-sex marriage.

XS
SM
MD
LG