Afghanistan NGO leader Khalil Parsa, Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, Guatemalan judge Claudia Escobar, Malaysian civil society activist Cynthia Gabriel, and Ukrainian investigative journalist Denys Bihus will share the 2017 Democracy Award for their work promoting democracy in their countries. Bestowed annually by the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. democracy promotion agency, the ceremony will be held June 7 at the U.S. Capitol. Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will both speak.
This year’s award is significant for three reasons. In the wake of concerns Trump Administration rhetoric has raised about America’s commitment to human rights and democracy, Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi’s participation is a reminder that a strong, bipartisan consensus on these basic, universal values remains deeply embedded in U.S. political culture. Second is the recognition by the National Endowment, perhaps the world’s leading advocate of democracy, that the fight against corruption is an essential element in building a democratic state. Finally, the award is one more sign that those fighting corruption at home are not alone, that the international community supports them and stands with them.
More on the ceremony, biographies of each recipient, and the National Endowment’s democracy promotion work here.