June 18, 2007
Upon leaving the NED Board, Mort Abramowitz was presented with the Democracy Service Medal. Abramowitz served on the NED board for nine years, the maximum term allowed, and made invaluable contributions as the Board expert at different times for NED’s Central and Eastern Europe and Asia programs. Abramowitz is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and former President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His long and distinguished career in the Foreign Service included postings as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Thailand. On June 18, NED honored Abramowitz on with its Democracy Service Medal, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the advancement of human rights and democracy around the world.
March 14, 2007
The New York Democracy Forum
Remarks by Carl Gershman, NED President
Thank you, Gonzalo. Before I present Mano Kampouris with the NED’s Democracy Service Medal, I want to say a very brief word about the National Endowment for Democracy and about the New York Democracy Forum, which is the partnership we’ve established with the Foreign Policy Association.
For those of you not familiar with the National Endowment for Democracy, let me say that the NED is a bipartisan, nongovernmental, and very unusual institution. We receive an annual appropriation from the US Congress, with which we make grants to support groups working for democracy in more than 90 countries throughout the world. Yet we are also a private organization governed by an entirely independent Board, and we raise private funds with which we promote research on democracy and manage a global network of democracy activists and groups called the World Movement for Democracy.
Together with the Foreign Policy Association, we launched the New York Democracy Forum two years ago with the goal of familiarizing people in our nation’s financial capital with the work of the NED and its related democracy-promotion institutions, and also to connect Endowment to the global institutions based in this city and to the community of leaders associated to the FPA. I think we’re all agreed that it has been an unusually successful and productive relationship – I might note that it was our mutual friend John Whitehead who proposed this relationship. I want to take this occasion to say thank you to John and also to say how much I’ve enjoyed working with Noel Lateef, whom I admire for his professionalism and for his modesty, which is not a quality that is in abundant supply in Washington.
Later this evening we’ll hear from Chris Cox, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who also happens to be an extraordinarily valued Member of the NED Board. At this time, however, we want to express our gratitude to someone who has just retired from the NED Board, having served for nine years, which is the maximum allowed under our by-laws. When Mano Kampouris joined the NED Board, he was President and CEO of American Standard and also a leader in the US Chamber of Commerce, whose Center for International Private Enterprise is a core constituent of the NED family of institutions, which also includes three other institutes associated with our two political parties and our trade unions.
Mano brought two very special qualities to the NED. First, as a corporate leader renowned for his managerial innovativeness and efficiency, he was a superb Chairman of our Budget and Audit Committee. He gave selflessly of his time and energy in helping us develop effective oversight procedures over a rapidly expanding, geographically dispersed, and incredibly complex series of grant relationships and democracy promotion activities. I might note that Mano continues to serve on this Committee even after his retirement from the NED Board, which is permitted under DC law.
In addition, Mano brought to the NED a deep passion for democratic values and human freedom. This passion can be traced to his exposure as a child to communal strife and religious intolerance in his native Egypt, from which his family was forced to flee, and also to his powerful religious convictions which have shaped his understanding of the dignity of the human person. Mano’s devotion to the NED’s mission of promoting democracy throughout the world, including the Middle East, was thus from the very beginning deeply felt, deriving as it did from both his life experience and fiercely held beliefs. And though he is now retired from the NED Board, he remains a personal friend and a permanent member of the NED family. It is in that spirit that we thank him for his service to the NED and to the cause of human freedom and are honored to present him with our Democracy Service Medal.
February 20, 2007
Vaclav Havel, human rights advocate and former Czech President, gathered with eight dissidents and activists from around the world to discuss the struggle for human rights and democracy in Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
- Oksana Chelysheva, spokesperson, Russian Chechen Friendship Society, Russia
- Min Zin, journalist and democracy activist, Burma
- Ramon Humberto Colas, founder, Independent Libraries Movement, Cuba
- Ales Mihalevic, vice chairman, Belarusian Popular Front, Belarus
- Rebiya Kadeer, democracy activist/Uyghur rights advocate, East Turkistan/China
- Kim Seung Min, founder, Free North Korea Radio, North Korea
- Ali Afshari, democracy activist, Iran
- Manouchehr Mohammadi, democracy activist, Iran