NED to honor late Sen. John McCain with Democracy Service Medal at IRI Freedom Dinner

May 7, 2019

Washington, DC – The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will honor the late Senator John McCain with a posthumous presentation of NED’s Democracy Service Medal.  NED Chairman Andrew Card will present the Medal tonight, May 7, at the annual Freedom Dinner of the International Republican Institute; IRI Board member and close friend of McCain Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will accept the award.  Also paying tribute to McCain will be Kyiv, Ukraine mayor Vitali Klitschko and Russian democracy activist Vladimir Kara Murza.

McCain was a stalwart champion of democracy in every part of the world.  He was a dedicated friend and ally of the NED, chairing IRI, which is one of NED’s four core grantees, for more than 25 years.  He consistently went to great lengths to meet and understand the struggles of those working for democracy and human rights in the toughest, most difficult environments.

“John McCain was one of the great freedom fighters of all time,” said NED President Carl Gershman. “He was a champion of democracy wherever it was being challenged and needed his support.  His powerful voice gave hope to dissidents and political prisoners everywhere and gave them confidence that they were not alone.”

The Democracy Service Medal was first awarded to the former Polish President and founder of the Solidarity trade union movement Lech Walesa, and former AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland in April 1999 on the 10th anniversary of the roundtable agreement that led to the peaceful transition to democracy in Poland. It has since been presented to a wide range of individuals who have demonstrated through personal commitment, their dedication to the advancement of freedom and human rights, and to the building of democratic institutions.  Distinguished recipients include the late Vaclav Havel, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and former Secretaries of State Madeleine K. Albright, and George P. Schultz.

Contact:  Jane Riley Jacobsen 202-378-9604