June 14, 2013
Transcript: 2013 Freedom Awards
Frederick Kempe, President & CEO, Atlantic Council
Radoslaw Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Poland;
Stephen J. Hadley, Former National Security Advisor to US President George W. Bush;
Ryszard Schnepf, Ambassador of Poland to the United States;
H.E. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Former Prime Minister of Poland;
Maciej Witucki, CEO, Orange Polska;
Sándor Demján, Investor and Philanthropist;
Sushma Palmer, Program Director, Center for Communications, Health and the Environment;
Rafał Dutkiewicz, Mayor, City of Wrocław;
Douglas Greene, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy, Poland;
Tomicah Tillemann, Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies, U.S. Department of State;
Anatoli Mikhailov, Rector, European Humanities University;
Maryia Sliaptsova, Student, European Humanities University;
Dzianis Kuchynski, Student, European Humanities University
Olga Karatch, Alumna, European Humanities University;
Shaukat Aziz, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan;
Ziauddin Yousafzai, Father of Malala Yousafzai
Date: Friday, June 14, 2013
Federal News Service
(Begin video segment.)
FREDERICK KEMPE: The Atlantic Council’s birth in 1961 was prompted by one of the most dangerous moments of the Cold War.
REPORTER: It’s a bomb. Duck and cover.
MR. KEMPE: It was the inaugural year of the youngest president ever elected in America, John F. Kennedy.
REPORTER: The assault has begun on the dictatorship of Fidel Castro.
MR. KEMPE: Fast-forward to the Bay of Pigs in April, fast-forward to June. Superpower summit in Vienna and then in August you have the construction of the Berlin Wall, which divided the free and unfree worlds for a further three decades.
The Atlantic Council came together at an inflection point in history. There was a global ideological struggle. There was a showdown of the two great superpowers of their day, and some of the great foreign policy actors came together and said, we have to make sense of this. We have to act in common purpose to shape a better future.
REPORTER: In the cities, police and civil defense teams clear the streets.
GENERAL BRENT SCOWCROFT: I think it was a time when we were really beset, and all with the backdrop of these two powers acquiring nuclear weapons at an extremely rapid pace. And so where was all this heading?
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: NATO is one of the best and the earliest examples of cooperation between Western Europe and North America.
GEN. SCOWCROFT: It had psychological support. The people didn’t know that much about it. And this was an attempt to provide intellectual support, if you will, for the military program of containment. And the council was extremely successful. And then the Cold War ended.
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. (Cheers.)
PETER JENNINGS: I’m Peter Jennings in New York. Just a short while ago astonishing news from East Germany, where the East German authorities have said, in essence, that the Berlin Wall doesn’t mean anything anymore.
GEN. SCOWCROFT: People began to say, well, no, what’s the Atlantic Council for anymore? So I thought, organized as it is around an idea of a community, we ought to remake it and focus it on the problems of the future. (Siren.)
The pattern of the world is very different now than it was in the Cold War. We need to navigate through this very difficult world. And to me, the instrument to help us do that is the Atlantic Council.
MR. KEMPE: How do we integrate China? How do we deal with the nuclear weapons aspirations of Iran? How do you wrestle with climate change? How do you wrestle with global financial instability? Somebody has to be the glue that holds this all together. We’re dramatically remaking our institution for the future.
Six of our 10 programs and centers have been created in the past five years and are aimed squarely at this challenging world. These are new developments recognizing that the Atlantic community can’t just be about itself any longer. It has to be about reshaping the world and working with our global friends to reshape the world.
GEN. SCOWCROFT: I hope the Atlantic Council will help us find an anchor in this world, and do it successfully.
MR. KEMPE: The historic moment now is as important as it was in 1918, 1945, 1989. We have to recognize this historic moment. We are an activist organization that’s going on the offensive for the issues that we care about and with the partners that are important to us to make sure that we have a better global future.
(End video segment.)
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Mr. Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: On behalf of the Atlantic Council, I am honored to welcome you to our fifth annual Freedom Awards dinner.
Before we get started with the official program, I do want to hand the podium over to a Freedom Awardee of two years ago, Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski. We’re proud that he’s with us. I want to give one quote from him, from a speech in front of the American Jewish Committee a couple of weeks ago in Washington, which captures the ethos of this dinner, of the Wroclaw Global Forum, and of the Atlantic Council.
Quote from Minister Sikorski: “Europe has unfinished business. Ideas and policies that won the Cold War are under pressure, especially to the east of our borders: dictatorship in Belarus, corruption in Ukraine, frozen conflicts in the Southern Caucasus, Russia a chapter in itself. EU-U.S. teamwork and leadership remain the only way to make a difference. We need to stand tall to be proud of what makes us strong, prosperous and stable,” unquote.
Thank you very much for that inspiration, Foreign Minister Sikorski, and please come to the podium. (Applause.)
FOREIGN MINISTER RADOSLAW SIKORSKI: Well, thank you, Fred, for reminding everyone of our challenges. And thank you for showing images of 1989, which was a good year for Poland and a good year for me personally. I am always reminded what I did in 1989 on 4th of June, which was the day of the first partially free Polish election. I was actually in Angola with some guerillas doing an ambush on some Communists.
But ’89 was a really good year because I recovered my country, I met my wife, and I started rebuilding my house in Poland. And I think from that perspective we are very fortunate to have here with us the hero of that year, Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. (Applause.) And it’s people like him and what they achieved in 1989 – and I will tell you frankly, I was a critic of some of what was happening in 1989, but after 20 years I think I appreciate more what the risks were and what the opportunities we took advantage of it.
But I think it was the inspiration of that year – for once Poland’s bloodless victory and a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy, and from command economy to a free economy – that inspires us today to make Poland the home of democracy-exporting institutions. And I’m very proud, and as foreign minister have given support to ODIHR, the arm of OSCE that supports and supervises elections all around the world; to the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies – and I think we have the general secretary of the Community of Democracies with us as well. There she is. (Applause.)
To the other institutions that try to support democracy in our eastern neighborhood – Poland was instrumental in launching Eastern Partnership. And the new baby of the European community, the European Endowment for Democracy, which is just starting with a budget of 28 million, which is a child of the Polish presidency of the European Union, unashamedly modeled on the American original, the National Endowment for Democracy. And we have this, the Wroclaw Global Forum, which I hope will continue to be an important venue for debate between Europe and the United States.
Thank you very much for coming to Wroclaw, and I hope we’ll honor shortly those who fight for freedom today, the kind of freedom that we regained 20-some years ago and that we feel we’ve made good use of. Good luck to the countries – to Pakistan, to others who are struggling for freedom today. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: Thank you, Minister Sikorski.
I want to now turn the stage for a greeting, on behalf of the Atlantic Council board and actually the executive committee of the board, one of the most esteemed and active board directors of the Atlantic Council, former national security advisor Steve Hadley. He’s one of 24 individuals to have served the president of the United States as national security advisor. But he hadn’t just done so for the administration of President George W. Bush, but he was called upon by presidents before then and after then for his advice. His remarkable accomplishments are too long to list here. I’m not going to. He wouldn’t want me to. He’s too modest.
So I am going to turn the stage over to someone whose career has given him a highly sophisticated understanding of how democracy, human rights and the rule of law shape the security and prosperity across the globe, as any of you who heard him on two panels today can attest, Steve Hadley. (Applause.)
STEPHEN HADLEY: Good evening.
The Freedom Awards were inaugurated in 2009 on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. These awards honor exceptional individuals and organizations that fight for freedom around the world. Tonight we are recognizing key figures and institutions that have changed the course of history with our courageous defense of democracy and human rights.
Wroclaw became the award’s European home in 2010, given Poland’s own historic democratic transition and key role in spreading the message of freedom today. Polish people understand so well that showing solidarity with the people like the ones we are honoring tonight is critical in affirming that these courageous individuals do not stand alone.
The council presents these awards because at the core of the council’s mission is a strong trans-Atlantic partnership, and ultimately what makes this partnership strong is the unwavering foundation on which it stands, a foundation built on the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Whether the council is looking at stability in the Middle East or the shifting energy landscape in Latin America, its work is always guided by these central principles because freedom is in inextricably tied to both international security and economic prosperity.
By hosting these awards on an annual basis, the council is proud to bring together a community of business leaders, policy makers and activists who feel strongly about the fight for freedom around the world. And it is proud to honor those who not only yearn for freedom but have the strength and courage to make it a reality for all mankind. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: And please, all of you should begin to eat or we won’t get through the evening and you’ll be starving. And it’s better to eat and clink your forks and knives while I’m talking than when other more important people are talking.
I want to thank you for joining us this special evening when we recognize those who courageously fight for freedom and democracy in the world. I want to make a couple of thanks before we get started. Most importantly, I want to thank our host, Mayor Dutkiewicz; Jincwia Bartso (ph), to you and your team for providing the perfect venue for this dinner.
Mayor, we work with partners all over the world, and I can say without any exaggeration that we’ve never worked for a more pleasant, effective and efficient team than that led by Magda Piasecka. And it shows us why Wroclaw is such a successful and entrepreneurial city. So thank you very much. (Applause.)
I want to thank our knowledge partners and our partners in everything in the Wroclaw Global Forum, the PISM, and particularly Marcin Zaborowski and Anna Zielinska-Rakowicz, who have been so helpful to us and have given the forum today so much of the intellectual content that you’ve come to me and thanked me for during the course of the day. Also please pass on our thanks, Marcin, to Prime Minister Bielecki, and of course Yozi Kovinski (ph), who is with us tonight. Thank you so much to PISM. (Applause.)
I do want to thank Maciej Witucki, who was there from the very beginning, our lead board member for Poland, and one of the visionaries behind this whole project, with the mayor and with Lee Feinstein, the former ambassador, and with the Atlantic Council. Maciej, thank you so much. (Applause.)
We have two international advisory board members here tonight as well. I want to give a real thanks for you being here. Thank you to Jan Kulczyk and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. Thank you so much, gentlemen. (Applause.) And then aside from Steve Hadley we have three board members here. I already mentioned Maciej. But, John Schmitz and Walt Slocombe, thank you as well for being here. (Applause.)
Most importantly now, I want to thank the two co-chairs, the honorary co-chairs of this evening, the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Steve Mull, and Poland’s ambassador to the U.S., Ryszard Schnepf, for serving as co-chairs and for the valuable guidance on this initiative.
Ambassador Schnepf, I’m delighted you could be here with us tonight. It’s an honor to have you with us and having come across the Atlantic to be here. Thank you. (Applause.) And though Ambassador Mull couldn’t be here – his son, I believe, is graduating; it may even be tonight – we’re delighted to have Doug Greene, deputy chief of the mission, representing the embassy. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
We launched Bronislaw Geremek Lecture in Washington a couple of years back. I did it in conjunction with the embassy and then the Ambassador Kupiecki, and of course a member of the staff of the Atlantic Council at that time, now the Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Sufianek (ph).
So let me just quote Bronislaw Geremek because it captures what we’re doing tonight. Quote, Bronislaw Geremek: “The core of the Solidarity movement was the dream of freedom, of democracy, understood as the innate right of every human being to decide his or her own fate and to share responsibility for the fate of the nation.”
That’s why we’re here tonight. Tomicah Tillemann from the State Department today said there has not been a democratic transition – successful democratic transition where any country has done it on its own. We’re a community of influence to help this story go along.
Tonight we will honor four extraordinary individuals and organizations for their contributions to advancing the cause of freedom and democracy around the world. I’ll briefly tell you how the evening will run and then leave it – and then leave it to the stars of the evening and the people we want to address.
This evening will first honor His Excellency Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former prime minister of Poland, for enacting landmark democratic reforms that transformed not only Poland but also initiated a wave of change across the region. His dedication to the transformation of his country at such a crucial moment for the entire region has had an enduring impact on Poland’s modern history. He will be introduced for his award by Maciej Witucki, our lead board member in Poland.
2013 will also mark – this year also marks the advent of the council’s inaugural Diplomat for Freedom Award, presented posthumously to Mark Palmer, former U.S. ambassador to Hungary. His passion and dedication proved how diplomacy can be an active tool to animate the values of democracy and freedom. He died earlier this year. His wife Sushma Palmer, who was so much of the story of his success in promoting these issues, will accept the award, and the award will be presented by the great Hungarian entrepreneur and also a champion of democracy, Sándor Demján.
After the dinner break we’ll present an award to the European Humanities University in Lithuania for its unwavering commitment to democracy in Belarus by providing young Belarusian students with a free and democratic environment to pursue their education. Joschka Fischer today said, democracy requires democrats, and that’s what this university is doing. The EHU Award will be accepted by Rector Anatoli Mikhailov, along with two current students of the university and an alumna.
And finally, we will salute Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist whose courage to speak out against corruption and inequality, despite her own life being put at risk, is an inspiration to activists worldwide. Malala will accept her award via video message, and her father will represent her here tonight. The introduction will be made by former Prime Minister to Pakistan Shaukat Aziz, a member of our international advisory board.
It is now an honor to welcome to the stage Ambassador Schnepf, as I said one of the evening’s co-chairs and a great supporter of this initiative, a close friend of the Atlantic Council, and he has played an instrumental role in our annual Bronislaw Geremek Lecture in Washington.
Ambassador Schnepf. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR RYSZARD SCHNEPF: Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, good evening. I am delighted to be here on Wroclaw tonight, the capital of the global ideas. Before I make some remarks on the Polish-American relations, let me congratulate Fred Kempe, president of the Atlantic Council, and Marcin Zaborowski, director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, for organizing yet another excellent event and gathering such remarkable speakers in one of the most attractive cities in the world.
It is an honor to address you with so many distinguished guests present here, and such outstanding leaders as Rafel Dutkiewicz, mayor of Wroclaw, and Steve Hadley, former national security advisor to the president of the United States. Let me also extend warm welcome to my boss, Radek Sikorski, minister of foreign affairs, and to the very special ambassador of Poland in the global world, Dr. Jankowski (ph).
It is a special privilege for me to attend this event, which will honor some extraordinary people who have never ceased in their efforts to change the world around us for the better one. And I am particularly proud that one of them is my personal hero, a man who led Poland through challenges of transformation, the first prime minister of free Poland, Tadeusz Mazowiecki. (Applause.)
As you might read, I am – together with the U.S. ambassador Steve Mull – a co-chair of this event. I spoke last week with Steve, who regretted he couldn’t join us tonight. But at the same time, he promised to accept me to his singing team next Christmas if I do a good job. (Laughter, applause.) So I’ll try. But I will not sing tonight. (Laughter.)
Now permit me to switch to Polish, since after all I am the Polish ambassador and on Polish soil.
(Through interpreter.) Ladies and gentlemen, Poland the United States have been friends and allies. We have many common achievements and plans for the future. Please allow me this. I will introduce to you what Steve and myself is expecting in the nearest future relating to the three pillars of our cooperation: safety, security, democracy and economy.
Our cooperation in terms of security is a quite clear message for the rest of our neighborhoods. It is with pleasure that we accept the first American battalions here in Poland in – (inaudible). Aviation detachment, training and military – (inaudible) – training will be a value added, not only for Poland but also for the whole NATO. The antimissile shields will also serve us but also America and the Europeans. We are fighting in Afghanistan together, and there we achieve successes. But also, however, we collect victims there. Do I have to say anything more?
The alliance between Poland and the United States has been historical and traditional. Independent of the political option, the American administration has always striven for the independence of Poland. That’s why we believe that the plans of the American installation of the antimissile protection shields will be realized, as it has been promised many times by high officials in the U.S. administration.
What chances do we have, or opportunities do we have for the economic development is what I was convinced when visiting the Silicon Valley. Polish IT companies are selling software for $1 billion already to the United States. This is mainly computer games, and I’m quite scared to think what will happen when Viejmin (ph) will actually ride a horse in the American prairie.
But seriously, I am sure that the future of the United States, as well as that of the European Union, will depend on our agreements. The trans-Atlantic trade agreements and investment agreements will be the driving force for the trades globally, and this will be a template for the rest of the world. I can assure you that Polish diplomacy will be committed to this task, and I hope that also the investors of the private sector will follow us.
Solidarity and Lech Walesa made it possible for the democracy to be our trading brand. Today the world knows that our way was successful, and we are now sharing it for free with the others, as did those when we were in need. That’s why, based on the American models, we created the European Endowment for Democracy.
Together with the United States we also created the Community for Cooperation, with the seat in Warsaw. Thanks to this organization, the societies in Eastern Europe, in Asia, in Africa may get to know how to construct free media, or how to carry out free elections. How important it is to have good human relations in democracy, there is no need to convince you of it.
But now a few words about visa permits for the Poles. The work going on now in Congress is a historical chance for us, but please remember, it is not only a chance for the Poles but also for the United States. That’s why I’m quite optimistic and I hope that in the war between the opponents and the supports of the act we will win. Let me say more, and Mr. Minister will confirm.
I have entered a bet with Mr. Sikorski, who is a little bit more pessimistic in this matter. However, he assured me that he is quite willing to lose this bet. Today’s meeting has had a lot of achievements, and I’m quite sure of one thing: Wroclaw Global Forum will help our friends understand that Poland, the present Poland, is not only a country of proud history, but also it’s a model and open country, a place where it is worthwhile to be. I wish you quite a lot of impressions. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Maciej Witucki, CEO of Orange Polska. (Applause.)
MACIEJ WITUCKI: Ladies and gentlemen, I am so much missing those teleprompters from last year. So if I miss anything, it’s because of the technology. (Laughter.)
So the Atlantic Council Freedom Award was initiated in 2009, so the 27th anniversary of the Berlin Wall falling down. Today we have an exceptional opportunity to link this award with a person who was in the middle of those historical events, and the person who is still remaining an inspiration for the future generations.
It was in Krzyzowa, 50 kilometers from Wroclaw, in November ’89 that we recall an iconic picture of Helmut Kohl and Tadeusz Mazowiecki embracing each other as a symbol of reconciliation between Poland and the unifying Germany, the same day as the wall in Berlin was turning down. And despite the symbolic meaning of Krzyzowa, the course of reconciliation between Poland and Germany was still a long and difficult process. But this gesture between Helmut Kohl and Tadeusz Mazowiecki laid a foundation for the future. And finally, the European spirit prevailed on the mistrust.
In August ’82 – in August ’92, two years after resigning from the premiership, Tadeusz Mazowiecki accepted an appointment as a special representative of the United Nations in Yugoslavian conflict. For nearly three years, he investigated in the field, publishing 18 reports. He was – at the beginning, he was the sponsor of many U.N. initiatives in the war, notably the creation of the safe areas around Muslim enclaves in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Being a man of compromise, Tadeusz Mazowiecki knew what the limits of the concessions are. First time in the history of the United Nations, as a voice of protest, Tadeusz Mazowiecki announced he can no longer carry his mission saying, I quote, “I treat my resignation precisely as a protest against the helplessness and against the reconciliation with the helplessness.” His reaction and words were unfortunately prophetic for the zone of the Balkans.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki was first in 42 years noncommunist prime minister of Poland, led us in the times of so-called revolution – a hybrid of revolution and evolution – into a new democratic Poland we have today. The leadership in that period of transformation required a man with many virtues, built on his experience in the Solidarity Movement, as is one of the founding fathers. Along with Lech Walesa, Madzoweicki is a perfect example and proof that intellectuals must be involved in politics. He was always active and engaged. As a journalist, Tadeusz Mazowiecki entered with passion, there where he could actively play a part in the (hidden ?) debates.
Now we can allow ourselves to have a moment of joy and moment of pride, to raise a glass of champagne at the anniversary of the first free elections in Poland on the 4th June, ’89, and first noncommunist government. For us, Tadeusz Mazowiecki embodies that moment of change. And he can be proud of what he achieved.
Moreover, hardly anybody allows him to take a break from his active live until today. President Komorowski’s happy to have him at his side as a mentor and strategic adviser. We owe Tadeusz Mazowiecki a lot these days, not only as an architect of freedom in Poland and Europe, but also for shaping our today’s reality.
Ladies and gentlemen, talking about freedom, we sometimes turn the metaphoric of being free as a bird. The bird is not free just because the bird is traversing the unlimited space, but for the sense of direction, skills and ability to fly. In this sense, Mr. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, through his life, his achievements, his skills and courage show us – show the Poles how to be free, how to fly.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great privilege and honor to present to the 2013 Atlantic Freedom Award. Please welcome to the stage, Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. (Applause.)
TADEUSZ MAZOWIECKI: (Through interpreter.) Well, I’m going to speak Polish. I would like to thank wholeheartedly for this distinction – I would like to thank the Atlantic Council. I keep it in high esteem. Thank you very much. Mayor of Wroclaw, congratulations to you. The Wroclaw Global Forum – Global Forum is held here in Wroclaw – so important and so exciting in terms of debates.
I appreciate the fact that I’ve been awarded the Freedom Award. Freedom is the highest value for any human, for man, for an individual. But not only for an individual, it’s also the highest value for nations. In 1989 – but it all started in 1980 via the great movement of solidarity. In 1989, we regained – we recovered something we were deprived in 1945. We recovered our freedom, the right to decide on ourselves.
And thanks to that, we can develop in the free world and our progress can be judged by you as you walk along the streets of Wroclaw, Poland, very much like Wroclaw has changed dramatically. Today, are – (inaudible) – of people, in 1989, we have various weights of freedom in different continents. And we are usually asked for advice, for guidelines. We are asked by representatives of those movements and nations.
I keep saying that they should learn their lesson and they should learn from our experience. And I shall repeat saying that: Use our experience and learn your lesson. We are happy to see the wave of freedom, but at the same time we’re concerned because some developments result – they result in violence, even though they are expression of fight against violence.
We concern – we are concerned on any persecution for religious reasons, in particular Christians in some countries. So those of you who expect advice from us, recommendations, the most important thing we can tell you is that through our fight for freedom, we want freedom to mean progress. You can’t really get into shoes of those people who you’ve replaced, who you’ve toppled.
You need to create your new world. And this is conditional for the progress in history. These are my wishes to all those nations. Thank you very much for the award. Congratulations to the other laureates. And congratulation on your debates. We are obliged and obligated. It’s a strong bond for us because of European Union, because of NATO because of the Atlantic Council. I hope that you feel at home here, that you understand better us.
And the fact that you would fight for freedom, I would like to thank you for that. It was – my life and history. And I was, in a way, placed – oppositioned. I tried to do what I saw was my duty, both in Poland and in Bosnia. I believe that anyone else in my position would have done the same. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. (Applause.)
MR. MULL (?): Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Mr. Sándor Demján.
SÁNDOR DEMJÁN: (Through interpreter.) (Off mic.) – to share my memories of Mark Palmer, my friend and my colleague. Thank you very much, the Atlantic Council. Thank you very much all the contributors and organizers of the Wroclaw Global Forum.
Mark was a typical example of how diplomacy may change the world. There are always valid – the values are always valued – the values that he supported. And we can still enjoy the fruit of this work. Mark was never concerned – or never worried about leaving his office and join into certain activities that were necessary in order to force changes.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and letting the East German refugees to Austria, that was part of Mark’s effort. Nobody didn’t have – no one had to sacrifice their life to enjoy freedom. Mark’s courage and Mark’s commitment simply resulted in freedom to many people. It’s a wonderful feeling when they actually felt that his burden was taken off their shoulders.
Mark was very modest and he was one of the best diplomats of his time. I’m really proud to be able to show this brief video about Mark and his achievements.
MARK PALMER: Diplomats always have to find their own way. As a diplomat, you have to think: What are your values? What are you willing to risk? You could – through peaceful resistance – you could bring about immense change in the world. And you could succeed where people thought it was impossible.
NARRATOR: Born in 1941 on July 14th, Bastille Day in France, Mark believed he was destined to stand up to oppression and press for human rights.
MR. PALMER: An ambassador ought to be seen to be a friend of democracy and human rights. He’s part of this struggle for progress and justice. He should think, you know, gee, you know, this is the single most exciting thing I can do.
When people who have authority – if they’re willing to stand with people who are fighting for justice peacefully, if an ambassador’s willing to demonstrate or at least be present at a trial or in other ways show solidarity to the dissidents, that makes an immense difference. Gandhi taught us that that’s so critical, feeling that you’re together with a larger group of people and that history is on your side, that the legitimate authority figures in the world are with you.
NARRATOR: A speechwriter for three presidents and six secretaries of state, Mark captured the promise of democracy and created not just policy, but history. His words helped to inspire hope and drive action, including the founding of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy. Later, as an ambassador to Hungary, Mark stood in solidarity with those who embraced freedom and democracy.
MR. PALMER: One of the things that I did in Hungary in March of 1989 was actually to go out in the streets and march with the democrats, with the Hungarian people. It was not viewed in a friendly way by the Communist Party leadership in Hungary, nor in Washington where it was considered outrageous that I did it. But I think for the – for the Hungarian people it was good that they could see that they weren’t alone.
As a diplomat you can play, often behind the scenes, a significant role in assuring a peaceful transition. And there can be no greater satisfaction for a diplomat in his life or her life than that.
NARRATOR: With the support of George Soros and Hungarian businessman and philanthropist Sándor Demján, Mark founded the International Management Center – the first Western-style management school in Communist Eastern Europe. After the Berlin Wall fell, Mark brought his considerable energies to new ventures. Mark was instrumental in bringing both the free market and a free and independent press to the citizens of the Iron Curtain. As part of Central European Media Enterprises, or CME, Mark was behind the launch of NOVA TV, described by the Financial Times as the most successful startup in television history. Today CME stations reach over 50 million people throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
A Tasmanian devil with a bowtie, Mark had boundless energy and enthusiasm. He fearlessly embraced opportunities to bring justice and hope to people who had little experience with either. With his trailblazing book “Breaking the Real Axis of Evil,” Mark advised that U.S. foreign policy should make the worldwide promotion of democracy its top priority. Legislation based on this book led to the Advance Democracy Act of 2007. Mark spent his last years creating tools to guide both the diplomatic corps and the military. Mark developed the diplomat’s handbook together with Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman. The handbook has become an international guide for diplomats in supporting the transition to democracy in closed societies. Mark never stopped believing in the possibility of democracy and the role ambassadors could play in ensuring its arrival.
MR. PALMER: All the 60 peaceful revolutions that have taken place people said were impossible and were not going to happen. The lesson is that embassies and governments need to work away at this and have confidence that it will happen.
NARRATOR: Mark’s life was more than the sum of his considerable professional accomplishments. It was also a life of humor and love, a life rich with friends, family, and most importantly, a life shared with his loving, brilliant and always-supportive wife, Sushma, the strong, enduring woman who both shaped Mark’s legacy and was instrumental to its existence. Mark Palmer’s life was filled with vision, passion, commitment and determination. And it’s not an overstatement to say that his efforts touched the lives of millions.
MR. PALMER: Looking back on my whole Foreign Service career, the greatest satisfaction was being a junior officer in Moscow at the height – or the depth – of communism there through to Hungary. To be part of that struggle for progress and justice is so satisfying for a diplomat. It’s so much fun.
MR. DEMJÁN: (Through interpreter.) All of us – Mark was really supported by his family, in particular by Sushma, Sushma Palmer. I would like to invite you to the stage, and on behalf of your husband, take the award. (Applause.)
SUSHMA PALMER: Good evening. Thank you, Sándor, so much for those eloquent remarks about Mark. Thank you, Fred Kempe, the Atlantic Council, Ambassadors Hadley – (inaudible) – Schnepf and others who helped put this event together. I’m truly honored to be here this evening and to receive this award, the Diplomat for Freedom Award, on behalf of my late husband, Mark Palmer. If Mark had been here this evening, he would have been humbled and deeply touched and very proud. Thank you so much.
You’ve seen this film about Mark. I just wanted to add a few personal comments. I met Mark in 1964, soon after he arrived on his first Foreign Service post in New Delhi. And on our first date, he was dressed in Indian garb, and he took me to the Tibetan monastery. We sat on the ground cross-legged and we dined on yak soup. Of course, he wasn’t there – we weren’t there for dinner. Mark was showing solidarity for his Tibetan colleagues in their struggle for independence from China.
Mark was embedded in Indian culture and politics. He was on a first-name basis with leading members of parliament and already arguing with the then-U.S. ambassador, Chester Bowles, on how best to improve Indo-U.S. relations.
But he also spent a lot of time with ordinary Indians. He volunteered at Mother Theresa’s – (inaudible) – for orphans and sick people. He was the guest of honor at shantytown weddings in Delhi. On his travels around India, he proudly showed villages how American corn magically popped up. But he soon found out that the villagers could do it better.
In a few months, Mark had learned more than I knew about my native country, and for the next half century he took me on an incredible journey that spanned continents, cultures and languages. On our first post at the height of the Cold War in Moscow, we spent most evenings at dissident theaters or with dissidents in their homes. Of course, this meant close encounters with the KGB, and I recall one incident when they grabbed him, shook him by the lapels and threatened to beat him up. But Mark was unflappable.
We felt much more at home in the relatively open societies of former Yugoslavia and especially Hungary, where as ambassador Mark was close to Hungarian leaders and also to dissidents. But he was also a people’s ambassador. He was called upon to judge beauty contests. He was voted one of the 10 most popular Hungarians.
Mark was really adventuresome and light-hearted. He loved to sail. He loved skiing, fine arts, antiques, architecture, music, bulldogs, piglets, tennis or simply lounging on the beach. And we made life-long friends at every overseas post where we served.
In essence, Mark was really unconventional, as you’ve gathered, idealistic, a change agent, a brilliant strategist, an avid reader, writer and speaker, and an ideas man who made ideas come to life. He had a curiosity and an enthusiasm about people and life. Although he was pragmatic, Mark was really the perennial optimist, and deep down, he was a visionary. And his ultimate vision was a world without dictators.
His book, “Breaking the Real Axis of Evil,” sets forth a paradigm and a target to free the world of dictators peacefully. And ladies and gentlemen, I want to end by saying that Mark left us with the tools to turn this vision, this freedom agenda into reality. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: I hope you’ve all enjoyed your meal. Before I introduce somebody very special to us all here, I – usually at the Atlantic Council we’re a little bit too modest to thank ourselves on an evening like this, but I want to thank two people on my team who represent so many others who have helped make this possible. It is such an honor to work with people who care as much about getting things right in an event like this as they care about the issues of the event. So please join me in applauding Fran Burwell, Ania Voloshin. (Applause.) Thank you very much.
Ania, come take a bow.
FREDERICK KEMPE: I hope you’ve all enjoyed your meal.
Before I introduce somebody very special to us all here, I – usually at the Atlantic Council, we’re a little bit too modest to thank ourselves on an evening like this, but I want to thank two people on my team who represent so many others who have helped make this possible. It is such an honor to work with people who care as much about getting things right at an event like this as they care about the issues of the event. So please join me in applauding Fran Burwell, Ania Voloshin. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Ania, come take a bow. (Applause.)
Now, I have about a 10-minute speech I’d like to give on behalf of Mayor Dutkiewicz and he likes long-winded introductions. He’s told me that backstage. Actually, as you know, I’m joking. I’ve never known a politician to use words as effectively and efficiently as he does. So, it’s my honor to introduce to you our host and the man without whom none of this would be possible, Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz. (Applause.)
MAYOR RAFAL DUTKIEWICZ: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not going to deliver a speech. I just wanted to tell you, I’m extremely happy to host you, to have you all here. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
And there are two people who made it happen a few years ago. I mean Fred Kempe and Maciej Witucki. May I ask you, Fred and Maciej, to join me? (Applause.)
I wanted to award them with a special medal of merit, Merito de Wratislavia. Come closer. (Applause.) This is the special medal. And there’s something in addition too. (Applause.) (Off mic.) (Applause.) Wratislavia means return of glory. In the sign of glory, you are allowed to return to your tables, friends. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: I just want to say the name of my grandfather who was born in this city because he would be more touched than anyone. He was my favorite person on Earth. So thank you, Otto Paul Teodor Schumann (sp). (Applause.)
MACIEJ WITUCKI: So to make this dinner longer, I will then thank you, my mom and the director of this film and – (laughter). So that – but then thank you for this medal. It’s great stuff. I understood from the audience that I have free bus tickets until the end of my life in the city of Wrocław. So thank you very much and thank you for all of this. And we’re going to – we’re going to continue with this beautiful city of Breslau. Thank you. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Mr. Douglas Greene, the United States chargé d’affaires to Poland. (Applause.)
DOUGLAS GREENE: Good evening. I’d just like to invite everyone to give a huge round of applause to everyone who was involved in organizing this wonderful, wonderful event. (Applause.)
I’m going to be the third person tonight to send greetings from Ambassador Steve Mull. He is back in Washington at the graduation – the high school graduation of his son. It was a tough decision, but I think he made the right one to go back for the graduation. And I know he hopes to join you next year at the Wrocław Global Forum and Freedom Awards dinner.
These awards not only recognize the heroic individuals being honored tonight, but also pay tribute to the role of Poland as a nation committed to freedom and dedicated to the solidarity of free nations around the world. (Applause.) The United States has worked closely with Poland and our other European partners over the past decades to expand the frontiers of freedom. We’re proud of that cooperation and the success it has brought and the success it will bring. So let no one doubt that we will remain committed to our trans-Atlantic partnership in support of democratic values and human rights around the world. (Applause.)
I actually want to close with a very simple and personal thank you to the Atlantic Council. When I was a young foreign service officer serving at our then consulate in Zagreb, Yugoslavia between 1988 and 1991, it was a period of revolutionary change in Croatia and Slovenia, as you all know. I had two role models as a young diplomat. The first was my boss at our embassy in Belgrade, an ambassador named Warren Zimmerman. And the second was a man named Mark Palmer, our ambassador in Budapest who I watched from a distance through State Department cables. And yes, it is true, some of the things he did irritated the folks in the State Department in Washington, but to a young officer watching this from the region, it was very, very instructive. Both of these men taught me something that’s very important. When it comes to freedom, passion counts as much as policy, maybe more. I’m sad that Mark Palmer has left us, but I’m very happy he lived to see how far and how fast the march of freedom and democracy has taken us. So thank you for including Mark Palmer among your heroes of freedom this evening.
With that thought in mind, it’s my pleasure to welcome to the stage a colleague who is equally passionate about freedom, Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, senior adviser to the secretary of state for civil society and emerging democracies. Thank you. (Applause.)
TOMICAH TILLEMANN: Let me thank you, Doug, for that kind introduction.
A signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, observed that there is only one way to create a durable democratic society and that, he said, “is by disseminating the seeds of virtue and knowledge through every part of the state by means of proper places and modes of education.” I think we all know, intuitively, that Rush was right, but if we needed more proof, we could find it in the actions of authoritarian governments that go to extraordinary lengths to deny their people access to such an education.
Within our Atlantic neighborhood, no institution exemplifies this phenomenon more vividly than European Humanities University. EHU was established in 1992 to provide a generation of young people in Belarus with access to education that would exemplify the best values and traditions of our Euro-Atlantic community, an education that would not only teach them how to answer questions, but how to question.
Because of that commitment to intellectual integrity, EHU faced immense challenges, more than any institution could ever be expected to endure. After years of threats and government pressure, these difficulties culminated in 2004, when EHU’s Minsk campus was forcibly closed by the Belarusian government. Led by its rector, Anatoli Mikhailov, who joins us tonight, EHU’s faculty and students chose a path of principle, and in doing so, they provide inspiration to us all.
With the generous support of the Lithuanian government, EHU found a new home in Vilnius, where it has continued to fulfill its mission. Today, it is the only independent Belarusian university. EHU not only exemplifies the values of perseverance and independence, but it is also a remarkable example of transatlantic cooperation.
Over 50 partners, including governments, intergovernmental organizations, foundations, nonprofit organizations and the private sector on both sides of the Atlantic have come together to support its work. The United States is proud to be among those supporters. And tonight, we’d like to show you a short video about EHU’s work in action.
MR. TILLEMANN: Ultimately, the purpose of education is not simply to convey knowledge that has been acquired before, but to give each generation the tools it needs to build something new.
Thanks to the work of EHU, thousands of young people in the – in Belarus possess the values and skills they will need to help build something new, a new perspective, new potential, and we hope someday, a new future defined by freedom.
Please join me in welcoming Rector Anitoli Mikhailov and students Maryia Sliaptsova and Dzianis Kuchynski to the stage to accept this award on behalf of European Humanities University. (Applause.)
Anitoli Mikhailov: Thank you very much, Dr. Tillemann. Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor for me to accept this award. Your support for the aspiration of the Belarusian people to live in freedom has been generous and unwavering, and we are deeply grateful to you and the people of your country for this support.
Within the relatively short time of its existence, the European Humanities University, being established in Minsk, Belarus in 1992, has experienced dramatic destiny. After its closure by Belarusian authorities In 2004, it is presently located in Vilnius, Lithuania, and continues its operation as a university in exile.
Physically, EHU has traveled from one country to another, from one oppressive place where there is a little room for freedom to a place where democracy and freedom have taken firm root. But even more important, transition in – is one that is not physical, but it is reflected in every class of students that graduate from our university.
Our students – some of them are present here – have chosen EHU as a place where they have given opportunity to receive education free of any kind of oppression and ideological control. Being located in an atmosphere of freedom, they have unique opportunities to become professionals in various fields of humanities and social sciences. More importantly, they learn to think and to act as free human beings, something no regime can take away from them.
It is my sincere belief that a free country can only exist if people are free, and real freedom begins with each particular person. We stand here today in confidence that our struggle to foster free minds has a proper resonance and recognition in the world.
Two years ago, the Atlantic Council’s Freedom Award was presented to Belarusian Free Theater, a human rights center – (inaudible) – and Belarusian Association of Journalists. Today, I accept this award on behalf of all who are promoting freedom in Belarus. This award is a testimony that no regime can withstand the power of idea of freedom.
I will now let our students to tell their stories. Thank you. (Applause.)
Maryia Sliaptsova: Good evening. My name is Maryia, and I’m a second-year international law student. I should say that before coming to EHU, I studied at a Belarusian university and, frankly speaking, I have never known any other kind of education. But then I came to an election observation training course in Vilnius that was organized by EHU, and this experience changed me so much that I decided to enter EHU.
Now, I can say that studies at EHU are completely different from studies in Belarus. Here, we do not just read and memorize facts, but we actually learn how to learn by analyzing information, asking questions and forming an opinion. So I specialize in international law, and this knowledge let me know and let me understand the situation in Belarus better and recognize the violations of international standards in my country.
This knowledge, together with my strong feeling of justice, gave me the will of becoming a human right defender, and I know that if I’m good at my job, this will be partly because EHU taught me how to think objectively and freely. On behalf of EHU students, I want to thank you very much for this award. (Applause.)
Dzianis Kuchynski: Hello, I’m Dzianis. I’m a first-year cultural heritage student. I received a full scholarship at the Belarusian State University, but I rejected it and instead came to study at the European Humanities University.
You know, for me, EHU is a place of opportunities. First and foremost, it gave me an opportunity to study cultural heritage, a discipline that does not exist in Belarus. I have also received support for educational project which helps young Belarusians to learn history in a fun way, but more importantly, I have the opportunities to grow as a person.
EHU provides an environment in which you can become an independent intellectual and critically thinking human being, and such an opportunity can only exist in a place which is not restricted by state ideology and control.
I do hope after I graduate I can use my knowledge to show people the importance of our cultural heritage and find ways to preserve it because, after all, our shared memories and culture is what makes us a nation. Thank you very much for this award. (Applause.)
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Mr. Shaukat Aziz, former prime minister of Pakistan. (Applause.)
Shaukat Aziz: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. At the outset, let me thank Fred Kempe and the Atlantic Council for giving me the opportunity to visit this beautiful city. This is my first visit, and Mr. Mayor, I’m very impressed. Thank you very much for hosting us here.
No nation, ladies and gentlemen, can progress unless women in their society are given their due rights, rights like freedom, education, justice and involvement in every facet of activity, to contribute towards peace, progress and prosperity in their country.
Malala Yousafzai, a young girl from the beautiful valley of Swat in northern Pakistan, was one such lady who was committed to pursuing her quest for freedom, for pursuing education for all women and children and for pursuing the cause of peace and justice.
One day, on her way back from school, she was shot at close range by those who did not want to her to continue her mission. She was critically injured, and the place where she lived was far away from major hospitals or medical facilities. With the help of the – her parents, the governments of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates – UAE – and the U.K., she was given speedy medical attention, and I’m pleased to share with you that she has fully recovered and she is leading a normal life in Birmingham, U.K.
Malala is clearly an exceptional person. She is a glowing example of someone who believes in her cause and has demonstrated courage, conviction, commitment and tenacity in achieving her objectives, objectives like education, freedom, justice and equity for all, but particularly women.
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we celebrate the conferring of the Atlantic Council Freedom Award to Malala Yousafzai for what she has done and achieved and the promise she represents of what she will do in the future. Malala, ladies and gentlemen, has received already several awards from around the world, one even yesterday in Vienna. And she, as you know, is a nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Let us now hear Malala and share – allow her to share her thoughts with us this evening. Ladies and gentlemen, Malala will be with us on the video.
Malala Yousafzai (Via video): First of all, I would like to thank the Atlantic Council for giving me such a prestigious award, Freedom Award. And that’s what I want, I want freedom. I want freedom for all the girls in this world, and I want the girls to stand on their own two feet and I want the girls to be educated. I want them to be empowered, and one day, we will achieve this goal. (Applause.)
MR. AZIZ: Ladies and gentlemen, as I said earlier, Malala’s parents played a major role in developing her thought process and in what she did. Mr. Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father, is here with us today. He is her mentor and someone who played a major role in giving her (sic) daughter space to get on with her goals in life. We are really privileged that he is here, and may I now invite him to come and join us onstage. (Applause.)
Ziauddin Yousafzai: Mr. Frederick Kempe, representative of Atlantic Council, ladies and gentlemen, I really feel honored and humbled to be here in this wonderful gala with you. And I think my joy was multiplied because I’m representing my daughter; number two, I got the prize from the hands of her ex-PM, Mr. Shaukat Aziz; it added to my honor further.
And today, when I came here to this beautiful town, blew me – just beside this building, there are the big (lack ?) and beautiful scenes, and for the first time, I felt that as I am in Swat Valley. And I’m also thankful because it’s our cultural tradition that when you are served by good food, you must thank the people, the host. So I’m very thankful for the very tasty and amazing food for this evening.
Freedom Award – Freedom Award 2013, it is really a prestigious award for me and my daughter. I represent her, but I can’t speak for her. And that is what – which has made her different.
Your first prime minister who was here, he spoke about the freedom of speech and later on then, a gentleman from the EHU spoke about the critical thinking. That is what I did. People ask me that what special training have you given to your daughter. Nothing. She was born in the home of a social and political activist.
I was – I am a teacher, I am a small political activist of my valley who is one of the few who fought against Talibanization and terrorism and – (inaudible) – and she was grown in that home. And what I did – the only thing I did, I give her freedom of expression and freedom of thought. (Applause.) So that’s why I can’t speak for her, I am representing her because that’s why she has learned to speak her – for herself and to think for herself. And that makes difference.
Ladies and gentlemen, in this – and one thing more in this world of – male-dominated world, majority – in the major parts of the world – the societies are dominated by men. There are not a few exceptions. Fathers are usually known by their sons and you might know that in some of the societies there are so many children in search of a son. So many daughters – one daughter, second daughter, third daughter, fourth daughter and when the son come – it’s ok now.
So in the societies of son where fathers are known by their sons, I am the most fortunate father who is one of the few who is known by his daughter, and I am proud of it. (Applause.)
And ladies and gentlemen, before 2009 and 2008 – and that Swat freedom – if my daughter had not learned freedom of expression at home, she would have never been able to speak out of her home. She would never have been able to speak to media, she would never have been able to speak on different forums and seminars. So my message to the parents is: Give freedom to your children in home and they will feel free outside of their homes. (Applause)
Ladies and gentlemen, when my daughter got famous in 2011 after being nominated for one of the few nominees for the international peace children prize, she got very famous in the country and the prime minister of our country, he started a youth peace prize after her name. She became very famous. And before that, she was my daughter, and now I am her father. (Applause.)
Ladies and gentlemen when Malala was attacked because Taliban, or the terrorists, who may think themselves as the very powerful and very valiant and gallant people – they were afraid of this small child because she had a pen and a book in her hand. You must understand that terrorists may not be afraid of attacks, of drone attacks, of any other attack from military oppression. What they’re afraid of? They are books, that is knowledge, that is education, that is learning. Otherwise they wouldn’t have attacked a small child. So that is the way out to eliminate militancy, terrorism, fundamentalism, and extremism – education.
Ladies and gentlemen, when Malala was attacked, unfortunately, the whole population of Pakistan is associated with Taliban. Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make it clear that when Malala was attacked, the people of Pakistan – everybody; Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, all Pakistanis – they raised banners, they raised posters and they said, “I’m Malala.” They did not raise the banner of that “I am Taliban.” And they gave their verdict and they gave their decision and they shamed on Taliban, so I request that Taliban are few miscreants; they should not be associated with the whole Pakistan; we have dissociated and disowned them. They should not be associated with the soft image of Pakistan – Pakistan is a democratic and liberal and progressive country.
Then you will ask: Who is Taliban? Ladies and gentlemen, it is the old legacy of – it is the new legacy of old Cold War, which was talked about here on this stage as well. They are the legacy and the partners of the Cold War, which was very hard war for us. For somebody that was a cold war, but for my people, for my region, it was the hottest war. Three million people have been killed, 50,000 have been killed after 9/11. So that was a hard war for my people, and Taliban are the legacy of the partners of the Cold War of the jihadis. It must be kept in mind, and they are the (liability ?) of all the partners of the Cold War, and they know themselves who they are. Ladies and gentlemen, we may be one of the few, me and my daughter. We may be one of the few who spoke against Talibanization, militancy, terrorism in our land in Pakistan.
So many people (are dare ?) or speaking. We are one of the few who spoke, but we are one of the millions who are suffering – who are suffering every day – every morning, every evening. We have target killing, bomb blasts, and I think – sorry to say that – and to be honest, I can say that terrorism has become the part – terrorism has become the tool of the global politics in my part of the world. So that’s why I request to the Atlantic Council. This prize is a great prize for us – it is a great honor for us, for my family and for my country.
But my request is that Atlantic Council is in the power corridors, Atlantic Council can make a difference. Atlantic Council can make a change, so I want this for my land. Enough is enough. I want education for the children of Pakistan, for the girls of Pakistan and for every country where ladies are ignored and they are not given due attention.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think – I appeal to the – to the stakeholders of the global politics, of the regional politics that they have enough politics to how domination (were ?) other countries. They have enough politics for their strategic depth and for there to have – to have – to plunder the resources of other countries. I appeal that enough is enough; now it is time – let’s have the politics for the clean water of the underprivileged societies. Let’s have politics for the poor children of the world, whether they’re in Somalia and in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and 61 million children are out of schools; let them be in schools again. And ladies and gentlemen, the last but not the least, as a father, I tell to all fathers that this 21st century is the this century of – it is girls’ century – it is lady’s century. The nations – the people who will deprive their women from their basic rights – they will no more be able to live as an honorable nation.
So my request is that, please, trust your daughters; they are faithful. Number two, honor your daughters; they are honorable. And educate your daughters; they are wonderful. Thank you all; God bless you all. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: I have to admit that in the jury choosing this awardee, there were fathers in that jury. And we understood that we lived in far less difficult circumstances than Mr. Yousafzai, but if I can give my daughter an ounce of the courage and principles – she is now 5 and a half years old – that you’ve done for your daughter, and if all fathers could – and I know mothers feel the same way, but I think fathers have a special responsibility in this respect – then we’ll succeed. So thank you very much for that.
I’m going to say just one or two things, and while I’m doing it, I would hope that – this is an annual tradition – that the awardees and the speakers of the evening come up to the stage for your applause and for a photo opportunity. So please start making your way to the stage. Let me just say two things. First of all, I hope you’ll let me indulge one more time; I didn’t mention others of the team that are here. So Damon Wilson, Page Ennis, Ashley Stewart, Iveta Kruma, Drew Dickson, Rachel Weatherly, Stephanie Roland, Taleen Ananian, Max Chupersky (ph); I am so proud to work with you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Second of all, for you that have not been here before, you have to go see the fountain show at the end of this time and continue to chat with each other. You’ll really regret it if you don’t do that. It’s just an amazing time to talk a little bit, but also see something quite beautiful. And people will guide you outside the Congress Center as you leave.
Even as we celebrate tonight’s heroes, the struggle for freedom continues around the world. Iran had elections today. Syria – we’re dealing with the problems in Syria – you know the problems. From the streets of Damascus, mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, deserts of Mali, we’re working these issues around the world at the Atlantic Council, where we have centers around the world. Freedom is sacred and fragile. Through these freedom awards, we try to shine a light on those who are trying to do good. We’re inspired by your courage and proud to do our part of this growing community of freedom awardees. Thank you so much for your – for your commitment and your contributions to the world. Thank you. (Applause.)