President George W. Bush’s commitment to fighting AIDS in Africa earned him a Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Award, which is given each year to leaders who have made a significant commitment to Africa, Voice of America reports.

Africare, a group that brings awareness to the problems facing Africa, honored President Bush at its annual dinner in Washington, DC. Bush told his audience that seeing the results of U.S. efforts to fight disease and poverty in Africa firsthand has been one of the most uplifting experiences of his life.

Bush said he is proud of his effort to provide treatment for the 1.7 million people battling AIDS through his President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). “It is in our national security interest that we defeat hopelessness,” Bush said. “It is in our moral interest that when we find hunger and suffering, the United States of America responds in a robust and effective way.”

Bush joins a prestigious list of Walker Award recipients such as South African President Nelson Mandela, former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.