In announcing the award today, National Constitution Center CEO Jeffrey Rosen said the Tibetan spiritual leader has "emphasised the ideals of freedom, dialogue and tolerance." The medal comes with a USD 100,000 cash prize.
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since a failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
He'll travel to Philadelphia for a ceremony October 26, one month after Pope Francis visits the city. Previous Liberty Medal winners include Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and rock singer and humanitarian Bono.