2010 Democracy Award Will Honor Green Movement for Democracy in Iran

Jun 09, 2010, 17:25 ET from National Endowment for Democracy

Senators Kaufman and McCain will address June 10 conference

WASHINGTON, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly one year after millions of Iranians took to the streets, clad in green, to protest the results of their 2009 Presidential election, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will honor the Green Movement for Democracy in Iran with the presentation of its annual Democracy Award at a Capitol Hill ceremony and reception on Thursday, June 10, 2010 in Room B-339/340 of the Rayburn House Office Building from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Also on June 10, a half day conference:  One Year Later – Prospects for Democratic Transition in Iran from 8:30 a.m.2:15 p.m. will be held at NED's office. The conference will include opening remarks by Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ).  Two panels will examine "Lessons from other Transitions to Democracy," and "The Road Ahead – Strategic Challenges for the Democratic Movement in Iran."  The conference will conclude with a screening of a new HBO documentary film, For Neda, the personal story of Neda Agha-Soltan's life and tragic death in the context of the protests that followed the 2009 elections.  

NED President Carl Gershman stated, "This year's democracy award does not single out an individual.  Rather, it is an expression of solidarity with an extraordinarily diverse movement of Iranian civil society comprised of young people, women, workers, and  intellectuals from throughout the country,  who have demonstrated with great courage and perseverance, in the face of harsh repression and brutality, their desire to live in a normal country that is free and open to the world."

NED Chairman Richard Gephardt will lead the Award proceedings, which will also include remarks by-members of Congress, including Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and a representative of the Administration who will read a statement from President Obama.   The award will be accepted, in absentia, by a renowned Iranian literary and cultural figure.

The event will also feature a brief film made for the event by Iranian filmmaker Babak Payami.  The film is narrated by Azar Nafisi, the highly acclaimed author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, who will also introduce the film on June 10. Mohsen Namjoo, an Iranian artist, songwriter, singer, music scholar, and setar player, whose music is featured in the film, will also perform at the Capitol Hill reception.  Nicknamed the "Bob Dylan of Iran," Namjoo is one of the most groundbreaking artists in the Persian music scene today.

The National Endowment for Democracy is a private, nonprofit, bipartisan foundation 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, the Democracy Award, and the full conference agenda can be found at www.ned.org.

SOURCE National Endowment for Democracy