Oct 20, 1999

Sponsor: NED

1999 Democracy Service Medal

Presented to:

  • Alexandr Vondra
  • Martin Butora

Czech and Slovak representatives joined members of Congress, friends of NED, and representatives of the international community on Capitol Hill Oct. 20 to celebrate and reflect on the 10th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Czech Ambassador to the United States Alexandr Vondra and Slovak Ambassador to the United States Martin Bútora were awarded NED's Democracy Service Medal for their critical roles in the successful revolution, and in the subsequent transition to democracy.

Several members of the U.S. Senate were on hand to commemorate the great revolution of 1989, including:

  • Richard Lugar
  • Frank Lautenberg
  • Bob Kerrey
  • Paul Sarbanes
  • Bob Graham
  • Carl Levin

Along with them were two of the event's congressional co-chairs, Rep. John Mica and Sen. Joseph Biden. "It was an incredible, historic event in not only what it ended, but what it began," said Biden.

Prior to the award celebration a distinguished panel, moderated by NED Chairman John Brademas, discussed "The Legacy of the Velvet Revolution: Democracy, Independence and Peace in Central Europe."

Panelists included:

  • Sen. Biden
  • Zora Bútorová of the Institute for Public Affairs
  • Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick of the American Enterprise Institute
  • Michael Meyer of Newsweek
  • Karel von Schwarzenberg, former chancellor of the Czech Republic's Office of the President
  • Martin Simecka of the daily newspaper SME
  • Martin Palouš, deputy foreign minister of the Czech Republic