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News and Notes
Vicente Fox Receives Democracy Award
At a September 5 ceremony in Washington, D.C., attended by over 300 guests, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) presented its 2001 Democracy Award to Mexican president Vicente Fox, whose historic election victory on 2 July 2000 ended 71 years of single-party rule. NED president Carl Gershman noted, "By honoring Vicente Fox, we also seek to honor the people of Mexico and the change they have embraced by choosing a new path, and working toward a more open, more democratic future for their country."
In accepting the award, President Fox echoed this sentiment, saying, "The new Mexican democracy was a collective effort, not an individual achievement." He went on to acknowledge the role not only of political parties but also of NGOs, the media, individuals committed to the democratic ideal, former president Ernesto Zedillo, and the voters of Mexico.
The award ceremony, presided over by former U.S. congressman Vin Weber, chairman of the NED board, was held in the Cannon Caucus Room of the House of Representatives. Speakers included House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, Representative Bob Menendez, and National Security Advisor Condo-leezza Rice. Civic Alliance leader Sergio Aguayo, a 1995 recipient of the award, offered remarks in which he cited not only the democratic progress Mexico has already made but also the need for further gains.
The award itself is a small-scale replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue constructed by Chinese students during the 1989 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. NED began presenting the Democracy Award in 1987 to recognize the courageous and creative work of individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to the cause of democracy and human rights around the world. For more information, visit www.ned.org. [End Page 187]
The Internet and Democracy
On June 27-29, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) held its annual Democracy Forum in Stockholm on "Democracy and the Information Revolution: Opportunities, Values, and Threats." More than 250 information-technology specialists, business leaders, policy makers, and development experts attended workshops on such topics as "Local Democracy Online," "Introducing Technology to Elections: A Sustainable Approach," and "How Governments and Parliaments are Using Information and Communication Technology." Keynote speakers included President Tarja Halonen of Finland; Deputy Prime Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallén of Sweden; EU commissioner Erkki Liikanen; World Bank vice-president Mats Karlsson; UNDP administrator Mark Malloch Brown; Infosys CEO and chairman Narayana N.R. Murthy; Grameen Bank president Muhammad Yunus; and Harvard University professor Pippa Norris. For more information, visit www.idea.int.
New Website on Africa
The Africa section of the World Movement for Democracy recently launched a new website focusing specifically on democracy in Africa. This new resource provides links to existing networks in the region, including the Africa Democracy Forum, a regional network launched in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2000 in preparation for the Second Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy. (The Africa Democracy Forum held its most recent meeting on July 7-8 in Lusaka, Zambia, on the occasion of the 37th summit of the Organization of African Unity.)
The website, at www.wmd.org/africa/africa.html, includes information about African organizations participating in the World Movement, publications and research materials, funding sources, training and job or internship opportunities, and news on Africa.
Human Rights in Latin America
On June 13-15, the third "Latin American Regional Consultation of Human Rights Defenders" was held in Mexico City under the cosponsorship of several human rights organizations in the region. Forty-four human rights activists and NGO representatives participated in the conference with the goal of examining the challenges to human rights defenders in Latin America. The gathering also afforded participants their first opportunity to meet the new UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani. The final declaration of the conference, which was presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, is available at www.ishr.ch.
Report on NED's International Forum
In October, the International Forum for...