Watch: NED 40th Anniversary Democracy Awards


On Tuesday, November 14, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) marked the past, present, and future of supporting freedom with a special 40th anniversary presentation of NED’s annual Democracy Awards and Democracy Service Medals. The ceremony gathered guests from Congress, the Biden administration, democracy activists and leaders from around the world, members of the media and the diplomatic corps, and other supporters.

The 2023 Democracy Award Honorees are:

  • JOURNALISM: Afghan Independent Media, accepted by Amu TV on behalf of media ensuring the Taliban cannot isolate the Afghan people.
  • TRAILBLAZER: NetFreedom Pioneers, leveraging technology to counter digital authoritarians and circumventing censorship in the world’s most repressive places.
  • INDIVIDUAL COURAGE: Individuals Imprisoned or Killed in 2023, accepted by former political prisoners Venerable Golog Jigme and Nicholas Opiyo on behalf of individuals imprisoned or killed for their democratic activism.
  • MOVEMENT: Women of Iran, accepted by Mersedeh Shahinkar, blinded protest crackdown victim, on behalf of resilient Iranians struggling against an oppressive regime.

The 2023 Democracy Service Medal Honorees are:

  • Bishop Silvio José Báez Ortega, O.C.D. of Nicaragua, in honor of his work supporting liberty and religious freedom, and on behalf of those persecuted by the Nicaraguan state, including Catholic priests.
  • President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, in honor of her historic contributions advancing democracy and human rights in Taiwan and around the world.