NDI celebrated pioneering African women at its 2007 Democracy Luncheon by bestowing its two highest honors on Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman to head an African country, and the 50/50 Group of Sierra Leone, which is dedicated to promoting greater participation of women in that nation’s politics.
President Johnson Sirleaf received the 17th W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award. The 3rd annual Madeleine K. Albright Grant was awarded to the 50/50 Group.
“We celebrate what is most vibrant about democracy at the grassroots and also honor a national leader who has championed the cause of development and empowerment at the local level,” said former Secretary of State Albright, who serves as NDI’s board chairman.
In her keynote address, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “America has been the greatest force for peace and freedom in history because we have sought to use our power wisely and generously. We must reclaim our rightful place in the community of nations, with a sustainable foreign policy that reflects American values.”
President Johnson Sirleaf was honored for setting her country on the road to political and economic recovery after years of conflict and destruction. “Democracy is sacred,” she said. “I am here as living proof to tell you that if the U.S. were to lose its will and go quiet on issues of liberty and human rights, that would shake the foundations of democracy around world.”
The 50/50 Group designated a portion of its $25,000 grant to advocate for women in advance of local elections in July. Founded in 2000, the 50/50 Group has been a catalyst for a dramatic increase in opportunities for women to run for office and play more active roles in Sierra Leonean politics.
Albright also honored the memory of NDI staff member Andi Parhamovich with the announcement of the Andi Parhamovich Fellowship, designed to enhance the skills of young women engaged in democratic development. Ms. Parhamovich was killed on January 17, 2007, while riding in a convoy that was attacked in Baghdad. Established in cooperation with the Parhamovich family and the Andi Foundation, the fellowship will bring a young woman to Washington, D.C., each year – selected from NDI local staff or partner organizations in one of 60 countries – who is active in building democracy in her own country.
- Remarks of Kenneth Wollack»
- Remarks of Dr. Madeleine K. Albright»
- Remarks of Speaker Nancy Pelosi»
- Remarks of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf»
- Remarks of Dr. Nemata Eshun-Baiden»
- Remarks of Ms. Harriett Turay»
- Remarks of The Hon. Abator Thomas»
Published on July 7, 2008