Freedom House Honors Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Google at 70th Anniversary Gala
October 26, 2011
To commemorate its 70th anniversary, Freedom House this evening will honor democracy activist and leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, with its Freedom Award for her decades-long struggle to bring democratic rule to Burma at a gala at the Newseum.
Also being honored at the event are Google, which will receive the Corporate Leadership Award for promotion of global freedom of expression; The Washington Post Editorial Board, which will receive the Raising Awareness Award for its outstanding editorials and columns on global human rights and democracy issues; and Max Kampelman, Freedom House board member and former ambassador to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long career dedicated to peace, security and diplomacy.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is truly one of the most inspiring leaders of the global struggle for democracy,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “Her valiant efforts to bring freedom to the people of Burma, in the face of continuous harassment and imprisonment, make her undeniably deserving of the Freedom Award.”
One of the world’s oldest human rights organizations, Freedom House is an independent watchdog that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
Freedom House was founded in 1941, amid U.S. isolationism and general reluctance to become embroiled in World War II, by a bipartisan group of influential Americans who came together to urge assistance to those democracies under siege and to mobilize public and political support for intervention overseas. The original co-chairs of Freedom House were first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and 1940 republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie.
Over the past 70 years, through its advocacy, publications and programs, Freedom House has been faithful to the vision of its founders by continuing to be one of the leading bi-partisan voices pressing for global freedom, speaking for those whose voices are stifled, and supporting those fighting oppression and unjust governments.
“Today, the world is freer than in 1941, when Freedom House was founded. But dictatorships persist and their methods have become much more sophisticated,” continued Kramer. “Democracy and the democratic idea are under renewed pressure from freedom’s adversaries. As in 1941, people question whether the protection of freedom is America’s responsibility. Freedom House’s mission remains as vital as ever.”
Learn more about the history of Freedom House here.
Tonight’s gala will be webcast. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To watch the event, click here.