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National Endowment for Democracy to Honor Afghan Activists With 2005 Democracy Award


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WASHINGTON, May 31 -- Three democratic activists from Afghanistan have been chosen to receive the 2005 Democracy Award of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which will be presented on July 13 at an event in the U.S. Congress.

The three honorees are leaders of civil society organizations who have distinguished themselves in educating average citizens and local leaders about the basic values and principles of democracy, the rights of women and ethnic minorities, strategies for peace-building and conflict resolution and the importance of broad political participation.

“We are thrilled that NED will recognize the enormous courage and achievement of the Afghan people in their struggle for democracy,” said NED Chairman Vin Weber. “The Afghan election in October 2004 was an exciting moment for the whole world as we watched millions of Afghans bravely cast their ballots. Now that the spotlight has shifted away, I hope that our Democracy Award will create renewed interest and concern for all those who are working so hard to deepen the democratic progress we have seen in Afghanistan.” NED has been supporting the efforts of democrats in Afghanistan for more than 20 years.

The three recipients of the 2005 Democracy Award are:

-- Ms. Sakeena Yacoobi, the founder and president of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), a leading Afghan women’s organization focused on providing more than 350,000 Afghan women and children with education, health care and human rights training, both inside Afghanistan and in refugee camps in Pakistan.

-- Mr. Mohammad Nasib, the director of the Welfare Association for Development of Afghanistan (WADAN), an NGO working to advance the spread of democratic principles and strengthen local governance by training a network of more than 1000 Maliks, or key local power brokers, in the concepts and practices of human rights and democracy.

-- Mr. Sarwar Hussaini, the chairman and director of the Cooperation Center for Afghanistan (CCA), a well established NGO working to promote citizen participation and democratic institutions in Afghanistan by empowering women and strengthening democratic practices in traditional institutions.

The Democracy Award presentation and reception will be preceded by a roundtable discussion addressing the many challenges to Afghanistan’s continued democratic progress. Panelists will include the three honorees, as well as several regional experts and members of Congress.

The National Endowment for Democracy is a private, nonprofit, bipartisan grant-making organization created in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions around the world. It is active in more than 90 countries, supporting grassroots, democratic initiatives. More information about NED and the Democracy Award can be found at http://www.ned.org.

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What: 2005 Democracy Award of National Endowment for Democracy

When: July 13, 2005

3:30 to 5:30 p.m. -- Roundtable Discussion,

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. -- Reception and Award presentation

Where: 216 Hart Senate Building, Washington, DC

Contact: David Lowe, 202-293-9072 or david@ned.org



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