IFES Selects Winners of 2012 Democracy Award
August 1, 2012
By: Rebecca Aaberg | Printer Friendly
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) announced the 2012 winners of the Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award on July 31. Honorees include United States (US) Representative David Dreier (R-California), US Representative Nita Lowey (D-New York), and Kenyan women's rights advocate Maimuna Mwidau. According to an IFES press release, the award will "recognize men and women who demonstrate a commitment to advancing freedom and democratic values." The awardees will be honored at a gala dinner in Washington, DC, on September 11.
IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney recognized the significance of choosing such individuals as model democrats: "As IFES celebrates 25 years of building a legacy of elections assistance worldwide, we are proud to honor three individuals who, through the course of their careers, have created democratic legacies of their own. Each of these leaders has endeavored to bring the kind of democratic values IFES promotes to the world."
Dreier, a long-serving US representative, is the chair of the House Committee on Rules, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and a member of the board of the International Republican Institute (IRI). He has worked with IFES on a number of projects and initiatives. Member of IFES Board of Directors Judy Black said that Dreier has "passion for helping young democracies."
Lowey serves on the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State and Foriegn Operations and is a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Former US Ambassador to Mexico James Jones said that lowley has a passion for human rights advocacy "particularly when it comes to empowering women and advancing diplomatic priorities such as peaceful conflict resolution, good governance, and access to economic opportunity and education." Lowey commented that IFES' work abroad has promoted democratic ideals, and, at the same time, "we must ensure that women, youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups are not ignored as we forge ahead ont he path toward sustainable democracy worldwide."
Mwidau has worked with organizations such as United Nations (UN) Women, the Kenyan Women Steering Committe, the Women Political Alliance and the League of Muslim Women of Kenya. Mwidau has supported the role of women in politics as an advocate for implementing a gender quote in Kenya's National Assembly.
Each year, IFES chooses two politicians from the US (one from each party) and an international democracy activist to receive the award.
IFES - IFES Announces 2012 Democracy Award Winners