The W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award
The W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award
The W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award is NDI's highest honor, presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to democracy and human rights.

W. Averell Harriman was a politician who revered public life and respected the democratic arena of debate and competition. With this annual award, NDI pays tribute to Governor Harriman's legacy and his dedication to democracy and internationalism.

Award Criteria

The Institute's Board of Directors considers the following factors when presenting the Award:

  1. Sustained commitment. Recipient has advanced the cause of democracy and human rights for a sustained period.

  2. Demonstrates moral integrity. Recipient embodies or reflects a respect for universal human values and has served as a catalyst for democratic transition, often at personal risk.

  3. Engaged in the political process. Recipient is a leader in the political arena.

  4. Recognized efforts or requires solidarity. NDI tries to balance its Awards by choosing recipients who are internationally recognized and those who are courageous, but lesser known, democrats in need of international solidarity and protection.

  5. Represents larger political movement. Recipient represents an organization, party or coalition that has played a central role in advancing democratic change.

  6. Connected to NDI’s work. Recipient comes from countries or groups with which NDI has worked.


Past recipients of the Award have included:

Full List of Honorees

A full list of those recognized with the Harriman Democracy Award, sorted in chronological order.  | Read more »


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