- News and Notes
7th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy
On October 14–17, the World Movement for Democracy held its Seventh Assembly in Lima, Peru. The Assembly, organized around the theme “Democracy for All: Ensuring Political, Social, and Economic Inclusion,” brought together more than four-hundred participants from more than one-hundred countries.
The opening session of the Assembly featured remarks by Tawakkol Karman, the Yemeni Nobel laureate; Yevgeniy Zhovtis, director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law; and Glanis Changachirere, director of Zimbabwe’s Institute for Young Women Development.
The Assembly concluded with the John B. Hurford Memorial Dinner, sponsored by the Hurford Foundation. Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo delivered introductory remarks, and the World Movement’s Democracy Courage Tributes were presented to human-rights defenders in Bahrain, global advocates of the rights of sexual minorities, and the prodemocracy movement in Cuba.
Transcripts of major speeches and other information about the Assembly are available at www.wmd.org.
Burmese Democrats Honored in Washington
On September 19, the U.S. Congress presented Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi with the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to her in 2008. Suu Kyi had previously been unable to accept it in person due to being under house arrest.
The ceremony included remarks by House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; and Secretary of State [End Page 188] Hillary Clinton. Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain and Representatives Joseph Crowley and Donald Manzullo also delivered remarks. Following the ceremony, Suu Kyi met privately with President Barack Obama.
The following day, the NED presented its annual Democracy Award to the democracy movement of Burma. The award was accepted by four activists: Hkun Htun Oo, a political leader from Burma’s Shan State; Kyaw Thu, award-winning actor, director, and philanthropist; Cynthia Maung, founder of the Mae Tao Clinic in Thailand; and Aung Din, cofounder of the Washington-based U.S. Campaign for Burma.
Min Ko Naing, an activist granted amnesty last year and released after 23 years in prison, was also invited to accept the award but chose to remain in Burma in solidarity with fellow dissidents who had not been issued passports.
At the ceremony, Suu Kyi accepted the NED Democracy Award that had originally been granted in absentia to her and her National League for Democracy in 2000.
Essays by Hkun Htun Oo and Min Ko Naing appeared in the October issue of the Journal of Democracy.
Ninth Annual Lipset Lecture
On November 13, Alfred Stepan, Wallace Sayre Professor of Government at Columbia University, delivered the ninth annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Stepan spoke on “Democratization Theory and the Arab Spring.” He also delivered the lecture at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto on November 15.
The lecture was coauthored by Juan Linz, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political and Social Science at Yale University. A longtime collaborator with Stepan, his former student, Linz himself had once been a student of Lipset. In a written tribute to Lipset, Linz identified Stepan as Lipset’s “intellectual grandchild.” An article based on the lecture will appear in the April issue of the Journal of Democracy.
Stepan was also recently honored by the publication of Problems Confronting Contemporary Democracies: Essays in Honor of Alfred Stepan, a collection of essays published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
European Endowment for Democracy Funded
On November 12, the European Commission allocated 6 million euros from its European Neigh-bourhood Partnership Instrument to the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). Supplemented by other pledges of support, including €5 million from the Polish government, the funding will pay for the establishment and initial activities of the EED, a private foundation [End Page 189] independent of the European Union.
At it first meeting on November 13, the EED board of governors elected as its chair Elmar Brok, who heads the European Parliament’s foreign-affairs committee.
Czech Embassy Honors Václav Havel
On November 15, the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C., in partnership with...