November 6, 2009

Freedom’s Challenge dinner in Berlin will commemorate fall of the Wall, honor Walesa and Havel

Washington, D.C. – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver a major foreign policy address on the administration's new agenda for freedom and democracy promotion at the Freedom's Challenge dinner and awards ceremony in Berlin on November 8.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Atlantic Council will present Freedom Awards to former Presidents Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel, honoring their struggles for democracy in Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. Freedom Awards will also be accepted by Secretary Clinton on behalf of the American people, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis on behalf of NATO troops, Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle on behalf of the German people and Mayor Klaus Wowereit on behalf of the citizens of Berlin.

The Council honored former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl with its Distinguished International Leadership Award in April for their historic roles twenty years ago.

Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, said, "Presidents Walesa and Havel sparked a wave of democratic revolutions across Eastern Europe. Today, the United States and its allies must continue to stand up for democracy and freedom through constructive leadership and cooperation; the Atlantic Council Freedom Awards proudly honor those who helped make the fall of the Berlin Wall a reality."

Held at Berlin's Hotel Adlon, the event will be attended by government, military, business and cultural leaders from across the Atlantic Alliance. Former U.S. Secretary of State and Atlantic Council Board member Dr. Henry Kissinger will introduce Secretary Clinton. Former U.S. National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezisnki, respectively chairman and member of the Council’s International Advisory Board, will also be present.

President Barack Obama contributed to an Atlantic Council publication, Freedom's Challenge, which will be launched at the ceremony to provide analysis on the enduring significance of the Berlin Wall's fall, German reunification, the peaceful end of the Cold War, the expansion of NATO and the spread of Euro-Atlantic values. The publication features contributions from leading Atlanticists, including Atlantic Council Chairman Senator Chuck Hagel, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George H.W. Bush, General James Jones, Frederick Kempe, Helmut Kohl, General Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Lord Robertson, Brent Scowcroft, Horst Teltschik and Margaret Thatcher.

Founded in 1961, the Atlantic Council aims to renew the Atlantic Community for 21st-century global challenges through constructive U.S.-European leadership and engagement in world affairs. The Council embodies a network of policy, academic and business leaders who foster transatlantic ties through non-partisan and cross-national discussions and studies.

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