The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) celebrated 30 years of existence on November 13, 2013. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was established by an act of Congress in 1983 as a private, nonprofit, bipartisan foundation with the single mission of advancing democracy abroad. Today, NED and the four institutes affiliated with it since its inception – the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Solidarity Center, and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) – can look back on a record of extraordinary achievement abroad, having provided technical, material, and moral support to thousands of “small d” democrats throughout the world.
The special event was marked at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. featuring Congressional leaders who reaffirmed the enduring bipartisan commitment of the U.S. Congress to the work of the Endowment. Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi made opening remarks to a standing room only audience in the Archives’ 300-seat McGowan Theater.
Boehner and Pelosi were followed by ABC News journalist George Stephanopoulos, who moderated a lively discussion featuring Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and Representative David Price (D-NC). After covering topics ranging from the impact of social media to the backlash against civil society in many countries, three young activists from Tibet, Belarus, and North Korea were able to ask questions of the panel. All three are featured in NED’s 30th anniversary campaign 30 under 30, which profiles the work of 30 young activists. Working for democratic values, including human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, is a long-term project that requires great courage, creativity, and commitment. Those most frustrated by the status quo are often young people eager to engage in the struggle to achieve societies that provide opportunity for all, protect the rights of all, and make governments accountable to citizens. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been privileged to support the work of thousands of activists who seek a democratic future in more than 100 countries.
The Endowment is incredibly grateful for the steadfast support of the Congress and of each Administration of the past 30 years who have entrusted NED with this important work. NED also extends gratitude to grantees abroad – who have made the Endowment a trusted partner in the struggle to secure the rights, freedoms, and democratic institutions. Special thanks to Atlas Corps and the NED for the opportunity to being part of the history.