About the National Endowment for Democracy

If the rest of this century is to
witness the gradual growth of freedom and democratic ideals we must take
actions to assist a campaign for democracy. We must be stout in our
conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few,
but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings. The objective I
propose is quite simple to state to foster the infrastructure of democracy
the system of a free press, unions… Last year in London I spoke of the need and
obligation to assist democratic development and my hope then was that
America would make clear to those who cherish democracy throughout the world
that we mean what we say. Well the hope is now a reality the National Endowment
for Democracy a private nonprofit corporation funded with the Congress
will be the centerpiece of this effort. I just get charged up when I see these
people and I just realize you know how fortunate we are to be in a position
where we can help them. I mean I try to explain this to people all the time- I
really do believe this deeply, that the NED is a kind of a miracle. The things that a lot of Americans take for granted are luxury to us and for individuals who
fight on a daily basis for those luxuries, NED is a lifeblood. The NED is a private
but publicly supported grant making institution that provides a
comprehensive support system for people around the world was struggling for
freedom and trying to build societies that are democratic and based on the
rule of law. NED is seen as as the gold standard of an organization that just
stays true to to the genesis of the idea that Reagan outlined at Westminster 35
years ago. We still believe that as a nation we should be committed to helping
democratic development around the world. Thirty years of effectively promoting
democracy honoring the dignity and worth of every person and I've seen first-hand across the world the effects of NED's leadership and
activism for a world where people are free. This is an element of what I
see all the time that gives me a great sense of pride not just as someone
associated with the National Endowment for Democracy but as an American citizen
and an American taxpayer that our tax dollars- a small small tiny tiny
proportion of them are going to support people who are working often so
courageously, so selflessly, so innovatively, and so consequentially in
terms of making history to bring about democratic change and expand freedom in the world. NED has played an amazing role supporting us from the very beginning. Pushing-
helping us to push our projects on emerging leaders and how to translate
what the the innovations that we see in the civil society how we can make an
impact in politics in the region. We are at a crucial moment in our history
in which democracy as we know might disappear if we not defend it and if we
not improve it. We don't believe that we here in Washington can shape their
future they shape their own future our job is to help them and realize that
future to empower them to do so. I specifically work in the Visegrád,
in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. And we have had, thanks to NED
involvement, the ability to actually bring global shapers, movers from the
region together to talk about issues important for democracy. So many of the
people that we support face risk I mean they could be killed and when they are
attacked they go back and they work. Sometimes if you live in a successful
affluent democratic society you become complacent you forget how valuable, how
precious, these values are. There's a lot of reasons I think for Americans
to promote democracy. I think in general because democracies tend not to fight
each other, they have common values, they tend to work together better. People
are just not giving up and we have to remember that and we have to know that,
we have an obligation you know we have a moral obligation as Americans.
We're really providing support for people to fulfill their own hopes and
ambitions. That's what we're for and the NED offers a way to do all of that
together. Well the task I have set forth will long
outlive our own generation but together we too have come through the worst. Let
us now begin a major effort to secure the best. A crusade for freedom that will
engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace
and justice let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to
determine their own destiny. Thank you.

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