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Messages are seen next to a cut-out of former U.S. President Barack Obama at a local shop during President Day holiday in Washington U.S., February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday was named this year's winner of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library's "Profile in Courage" award, an annual honour for leaders who stand up to political opponents.

The museum cited Obama's signature healthcare reform law, which his successor President Donald Trump has vowed to repeal and replace, restored diplomatic ties with Cuba and the Paris climate change deal as key reasons for his selection.

"President Obama has embodied the definition of courage that my grandfather cites in the opening lines of 'Profiles in Courage': grace under pressure," Jack Schlossberg, the slain U.S. president's grandson, said in a statement. "Throughout his two terms in office, he represented all Americans with decency, integrity, and an unshakeable commitment to the greater good."

The award takes its name from Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book about eight U.S. Senators who took principled stands on unpopular issues.

Previous winners include former presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush; Gabrielle Giffords, the former U.S. representative who left Congress after a gunman shot her in the head; and John McCain, the U.S. senator and former prisoner of war.

Obama will receive the award in a May 7 ceremony at the waterfront Boston Kennedy library.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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