As Delivered by Prime Minister Straujuma, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at the 2014 Distinguished Leadership Awards.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is the first time I heard of Ruslana Lyzhychko. It was when she won the Eurovision Song Contest for Ukraine in 2006. At that time we– at– at that time we all thought, “What a rare moment when Ukraine shines in Europe.”

But her role as a European leader became clear last year on a different stage. When Ruslana sang the Ukraine national anthem on Maidan on freezing winter nights she inspired her nation to peaceful resistance. Her voice was stronger than sniper bullets.

Her courage set an example. Ruslana is not your typical political leader. She is a young woman. She is a rock star. She does not seek power. She comes from her people and she’s with her people. When I look at Ruslana at the Maidan I am reminded of my country singing revolution 25 years ago. We start sing the songs that gave us comfort and strength in those days to regain freedom. So, I am sure Ruslana’s leadership will have lasting influence on her nation. It is therefore my great honor to ask Ruslana to come on stage and receive the Atlantic Council Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership Award, and to wish her and her nation a bright and peaceful future. (APPLAUSE AND MUSIC)