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U2’s lead singer, Bono, will receive the King Center’s “Salute to Greatness” Award in January.

The Atlanta-based King Center gives the award to “individuals and progressive corporations that exemplify excellence in leadership and have demonstrated a commitment to social responsibility in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” according to the center’s Web site.

Bono, 43, has become particularly active and outspoken in recent years regarding aid for Africa, especially for the continent’s battle against AIDS.

He appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” last Friday praising President Bush and Congress for their efforts to secure more funding for AIDS programs in Africa. The weekend before, he headlined a concert in Cape Town, South Africa, that brought attention to the crisis.

Bono also co-founded DATA in 2002, an organization whose name stands for Debt, AIDS, Trade-Africa. DATA tries to spread the word about Africa’s crisis and advocate for solutions.

Coretta Scott King, in announcing this year’s award recipients, said Bono “has focused mass public attention on the world’s poorest continent and lobbied politicians around the globe to take action. Through his music and humanitarian efforts, he has proven himself to be a socially-progressive songwriter, entertainer and activist.”

The “Salute to Greatness” awards dinner, to be held Jan. 17 in Atlanta, is the King Center’s primary fund-raising tool. Corporate tables are $5,000 each, patron tables are $2,500 and individual tickets are $200 apiece.

In addition to honoring Bono, the King Center will bestow the award on Target Corporation for its “commitment and innovation in the arena of education, the arts and social services.”

Past recipients have included civil rights activist and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, singer Tony Bennett and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.

Also read:

Bono Sings in South Africa, Fights Continent’s AIDS Crisis

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