WASHINGTON, DC – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) announced today that Vice President Joe Biden will headline its annual Democracy Award Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 9.
The theme of this year’s dinner is “From Protest to Politics: Honoring Ukraine’s New Democrats.” Three young Ukrainian activists -- Hanna Hopko, Serhiy Leshchenko and Oleksandr Solontay -- will receive the Democracy Award at the dinner.
Vice President Biden, who received NDI’s Democracy Award in 2004 when he was a member of the U.S. Senate, will deliver the keynote address.
Each of the honorees had achieved prominence in their respective fields before the political situation in Ukraine prompted them to take part in the demonstrations that led to the fall of the country’s autocratic government earlier this year. They have now transitioned to the political arena. Two of them -- Hopko and Leshchenko -- were elected to parliament on political party lists on Oct. 26.
The dinner will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1120 22nd St., NW, Washington, DC. It will begin at 7 p.m. and will be preceded by a reception at 5:30. More information about the dinner may be found here.
“These honorees represent a new generation of Ukrainian leaders,” said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, NDI’s chairman, who will also make remarks at the dinner. “Their commitment and dedication to Ukraine’s democratic future can serve as an inspiration to those who struggle around the world to build democracy in their own countries.”
Hopko, who has a Ph.D. in social communications, helped to launch the “Reanimation Package of Reforms,” an innovative effort to promote democratic legislation. She was recently named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers of 2014. Leshchenko is an investigative journalist and deputy editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, and Oleksandr Solontay is a political analyst at Kyiv’s Institute of Political Education.
The Euromaidan protests erupted in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, last November over widespread corruption, abuse of power by government officials and the refusal of President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an association agreement with the European Union. The movement led to the collapse of the Yanukovych administration. Ukrainians went to the polls in May to elect a new president and voted in a new parliament last month, despite Russian occupation of Crimea and a Russian-backed separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine.
NDI’s Democracy Award honors individuals and organizations that have exhibited a sustained commitment to democracy and human rights, and have demonstrated leadership, integrity and courage in their dedication to democratic values and practices.
The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan nongovernmental organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. More information is available at www.ndi.org.
Additional details for media interested in covering the Vice President's remarks will be forthcoming.
Published on: Dec. 1, 2014