Pelosi was recognized for her efforts to pass former President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law and for helping Democrats reclaim control of the U.S. House during last year's elections.
Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president, calls the California Democrat "the most important woman in American political history."
Kennedy said Pelosi, who has served in the House since 1987, "leads with strength, integrity and grace under pressure."
The award was presented to Pelosi in a Sunday evening ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.