WASHINGTON—The Woodrow Wilson Center, the Ratiu Democracy Center, and the Ratiu Charitable Foundation are pleased to announce that Adam Michnik is the 2009 Recipient of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award.
Michnik is a political activist and retired member of Poland’s first democratic parliament. The award will be presented at the Woodrow Wilson Center on December 3, 2009, during the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture.
For over 40 years Adam Michnik has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to securing the rights and liberties of the Polish people and to the values of democracy. He was a founding member of the Komitet Obrony Robotników (Committee for the Defense of Workers) in 1976 and a prominent activist during the Solidarity movement of the 1980s. He participated in the Round Table Talks of 1989 and was later elected to Poland’s first non-communist parliament, where he served from 1989–1991.
Michnik continues to promote democratic values as the Editor-in-Chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest daily newspaper. While he retired from active political life in 1991, Michnik remains one of Poland’s most prominent and influential people.
The purpose of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture is to bring visibility and international recognition to the ideas and accomplishments of individuals around the world who are working on behalf of democracy. The lecture strives to enrich the intellectual environment in which ideas about democracy and democratic change circulate, both within and beyond Washington. Sponsored by the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation (London, UK) and the Ratiu Center for Democracy (Turda, Romania) the event expresses the deep commitment to democracy of the late Ion Ratiu through his contributions as a Romanian politician and intellectual as well as his interest in democratic change worldwide.
The 2007 Ratiu Democracy Lecture was delivered by Anatoli Mikhailov of Belorussia, who discussed Democracy as a Challenge. The 2008 Ratiu Democracy Lecture was delivered by Eleonora Cercavschi of the Republic of Moldova, who discussed children’s rights and education.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the living, national memorial to President Wilson. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and world affairs.
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