IAPC Decries Assassination of Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
11, August, 2023
Washington, DC – The International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) released the following statement regarding the murder of Build Ecuador Movement Presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio:
“The assassination or even harassment of a political candidate is an affront to the democratic process,” said Matt Klink, President of the IAPC. “Violence has no place in a democracy. You can disagree with a politician’s point of view, you can demonstrate, but the place to exercise your voice is at the ballot box.”
“Democracy is fragile, and when violence is used to silence voices, everyone suffers.”
“We must focus our democratic energy on ensuring fair, open elections that allows for the fullest participation of all points of view. As political consultants we encourage our candidates and clients to be tolerant, respectful, and civil to voters and the opposition.”
“The IAPC’s mission is to support democracy around the world. We must continue to be vigilant in protecting democratic values against threats from those that try and thwart and subvert the will of the people.”
IAPC Expresses Its Condolences and Outrage on the Assassination of Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
10 July, 2022
Washington, DC – International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) President Matt Klink released the following statement:
“The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is an act of cowardice and an attack on democracy. He was actively campaigning at the time of his death, demonstrating his commitment to the democratic process.”
“Prime Minister Abe was Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister. First elected in 1993, he had a long and distinguished career of public service holding office over four terms. He was a champion of democracy.”
“Members of the IAPC extend their condolences to the Japanese people. As a full-fledged democracy, Japan will rebound from this tragedy.”
IAPC Awards 2022 Democracy Medal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and The People of Ukraine
3 May, 2022
40th award recognizes the heroism of President Zelenskyy and the millions of Ukrainian citizens who have mounted an extraordinary defence of their country and the principles of freedom and democracy
(Washington, D.C.) The International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) announced today that it is awarding the prestigious 2022 Democracy Medal to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy on behalf of the Ukrainian people.
The citation notes that this award is “in recognition of their crucial fight for democracy against the violent attack on their country by the authoritarian aggression of the Russian government”.
The medal is awarded annually by members of the IAPC, which is the global professional body representing election consultants, strategists, and pollsters. This is the second Democracy Medal being awarded to a President of Ukraine. The first was in 2005 to Viktor Yushchenko.
IAPC President Matt Klink said the timing of the medal’s awarding had been brought forward from late 2022, at the organization’s annual conference, to show the strongest possible support for the valiant defence of Ukraine and of democratic values by President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine.
“President Zelenskyy has rallied world attention to the brutal assault on a sovereign democratic nation with a popularly elected government by a dictatorship that is determined to strike at democracy itself,” Klink said. “Through appearances at the United Nations, the European Union, the U.S. Congress, the British, Canadian, Australian and other Parliaments, Zelenskyy has urged democratic countries to support Ukraine’s democratically elected government’s effort to defend itself.”
“The world has had a savage reminder of why democracy is something we must protect and cherish. Without it, nations revert to the rule of the gun rather than the will of the people,” Klink added.
IAPC Democracy Award Committee Chairperson, Feyi Akindoyeni said, “This is the second year in a row that the Medal has been awarded to those standing up to the Putin autocracy. Last year we recognised the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny."
“We hope through our award to draw attention to the heroism of Mr Zelenskyy and the millions of Ukrainian citizens who have mounted an extraordinary defence of their country and the principles of freedom and democracy,” Akindoyeni went on to say.
Klink concluded by saying, “We join with all civilised nations in condemning the brute violence and illegality of the Russian state in prosecuting this unlawful and unprovoked invasion, noting this war is opposed by many Russian citizens. We condemn the alleged war crimes and urge their prosecution. We encourage further support by the global community of Ukraine’s stand against tyranny. We express our hope for a peaceful resolution that restores the sovereignty of Ukraine and respects its people’s right to live in a free and democratic country with a government of their own choosing.”
Since 1982, IAPC has been a pioneer in awarding an organization or an individual who in the judgment of its membership has worked courageously to foster, promote and sustain the democratic process anywhere in the world through our Democracy Medal, the first international award of its kind.
This is the 40th time since 1982 that the Medal has been awarded. Recipients have included individual politicians and leaders, political organizations, and political movements that have contributed to free elections through their leadership and commitment to democratic ideals.
Past winners include Hong Kong Umbrella Movement founder Joshua Wong, the Women of Belarus, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, US Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Philippines President Corazon Aquino, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
International Association of Political Consultants
condemns Russia invasion of democratic Ukraine
25 February, 2022
(Washington) Matthew Klink, President of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) released the following statement in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We join the global community in condemning Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. The fledgling Ukrainian democracy is the victim of an unprovoked action by Russia. They should cease this destructive action and immediately restore the democratically elected government and illegally seized territory.”
“For over 54 years IAPC members have promoted democracy around the world. We are distressed to see an authoritarian government, in this case Russia, attempt to depose the democratically elected government of Ukraine.”
“Democratic governments around the world need to come to the aid of a fellow democracy. We are witnessing increasing attacks on democracy around the world, and Russia’s actions only act as encouragement for other dictators and despots. The free and democratic nations of the world need to stand up to such a brazen assault on democracy.”
“The IAPC stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and offer their support for the restoration of the democratically elected government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.”
Please note: Members of the IAPC are available for commentary on the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine.
Established in 1968, The International Association of Political Consultants is committed to fostering democracy and the democratic process throughout the world. Members span a variety of political backgrounds and activities fostering the growing and diverse profession of political consulting as well as the practical aspects of democratic elections.
For further information contact:
Matt Klink, IAPC President: Tel (310) 283-6267 Email: email@example.com
Marcel Wieder, Vice-President-Communications Tel: (416) 907-2126 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Association of Political Consultants Democracy Medal Presented to Women of Belarus at recent ceremony
24 November, 2021
Vienna | Former International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) President Sepp Hartinger accompanied by IAPC member Christoph Hofinger and Secretary General of the Austrian Journalists Club, Barbara Meister presented the Democracy Award to Swiatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronica Tsepkalo and imprisoned Maria Kalesnikaya, who was not able to attend, for their work in the promotion of democracy in Belarus. The IAPC awarded the Democracy Medal in 2020 but due to the pandemic was not able to present the award until now.
Mauroicio de Vengoechea, President of the IAPC said, “Individuals are at the heart of democracy and the political process. Through their actions, these three courageous women have demonstrated how to engage their fellow citizens in a positive, non-violent effort to bring about democratic change in their country.”
In his remarks, Hartinger spoke of the fate of all fighters for democracy who are in political prison and thanked the women for their exemplary commitment to democracy. "This honor should not be a one-time effect, but the beginning of a closer cooperation to make democracy possible in Belarus and to strengthen it worldwide."
In their speeches, Tsikhanouskaya and Tsepkalo expressed their gratitude for the award and particularly emphasized the solidarity that can be felt worldwide.
About the recipients
Swiatlana Tsikhanouskaya is the leader of the democratic forces in Belarus who, according to independent observers, defeated autocratic President Aliaksandr Lukashenka in the August 9, 2020 presidential election. She had entered the race after her husband was arrested for running for president. Lukashenka publicly dismissed her as a "housewife" and claimed a woman could not become president. Tsikhanouskaya united Belarus's democratic forces along with two other leaders ¬- Maria Kalesnikaya and Veronica Tsepkalo.
After her forced exile, Tsikhanouskaya provoked unprecedented peaceful protests throughout Belarus, some of which were attended by hundreds of thousands of people. She visited more than 20 countries to rally support for a free Belarus. She is campaigning for the release of more than 500 political prisoners and peaceful change through free and fair elections. In her meetings with Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, President von der Leyen, President Charles Michel and other world leaders, she emphasized the need for a bolder response to the actions of the Belarusian dictatorship.
Tsikhanouskaya became a symbol of the peaceful struggle for democracy and female leadership. Among dozens of other awards, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was honored with the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament. In 2020, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Lithuanian President Nauseda and Norwegian MPs. She was included in the TOP-50 most influential people by Bloomberg, in the top 12 most influential women by Financial Times and in the top 28 most influential Europeans by POLITICO.
One of the three leaders of the national democracy movement in Belarus. Together with Swiatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Maria Kalesnikava, she managed to bring together an unprecedented number of people to protest against a regime that violates human rights, falsifies presidential elections and uses brutal violence against its citizens. The trio was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has already received the International Democracy Prize and the Sakharov Prize. Currently, Veronica supports Belarusian women who have been victims of the regime's cruelty in recent months.
Kalesnikaya is a currently imprisoned civil rights activist in Belarus, political prisoner, and music educator and flutist. Through her relationships with Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronica Tsepkalo and friendship with Viktar Babaryka, as well as political developments in her home country, she became a human rights activist and non-partisan politician. In 2020, she became internationally known for her role in the Belarusian opposition.
In early September 2020, Kalesnikaya "disappeared" in Minsk in an as-yet unexplained manner; her family was able to report two days later that she was in state custody. In February, the prosecutor expanded the charges against her: she was alleged to have participated in a conspiracy to seize power in an anti-constitutional manner and to have founded and led an extremist association. For this she was sentenced to eleven years in prison.
About the IAPC Democracy Award
Since 1982, the International Association of Political Consultants has been a pioneer in awarding an organization or an individual who in the judgement of its membership has worked courageously to foster, promote, and sustain the democratic process anywhere in the world through our Democracy Medal, the first international award of its kind.
Statement of Sympathy regarding the death of Sir David Amess
20 October, 2021
A statement regarding the death of Sir David Amess, from the International Association of Political Consultants, and European Association of Political Consultants.
On Friday the 15th October, a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom was murdered as he conducted his constituency meetings with residents. The IAPC and EAPC, as professional organizations focused on the expansion of democracy, view this horrific act as an attack on democracy itself. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sir David’s family, and all elected politicians, at this difficult time.
Regardless of their political agenda, all politicians must be able to engage directly with voters and be able to do so without fear of reprisal or personal threats.
The tragic loss of Sir David Amess, who leaves behind his wife of almost 30 years and five children, will be felt across the UK. Whilst measures will be encouraged to put a distance between MPs and voters, we must work together to find a solution that makes it safer for politicians to meet with voters more, not less. We at the IAPC and EAPC support closer interactions with voters and encourage a sensible balance between politicians’ security and accessibility.
Over the last five years in the UK, two Members of Parliament have been murdered, while hundreds of others have received death threats. The anger and hatred of those intent on stopping democratically elected representatives from going about their jobs must be met with more democracy and a global effort to encourage the removal of hatred from the political space.
Democracy Activist Turns 25 Today in Prison
13 October, 2021
Renowned democracy activist, Joshua Wong, spent his 25th birthday today (13 October 2021) in Skek Pik maximum security prison for male adults on Lantau Island, Hong Kong.
Joshua Wong has been imprisoned three times for unauthorised pro-democracy protests and unlawful assembly stretching back to the Umbrella Movement mass protests of 2014 and earlier when he organised a 2012 political rally of 100,000 Hong Kong residents.
The Chinese Government’s implementation of the national security law in June 2020 resulted in the jailing of democracy champions like Joshua Wong and publisher Jimmy Lai. It curtailed the “One country, Two Systems” promise given when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China.
Mauricio de Vengoechea, President of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), said, “We should not forget that Joshua Wong and fellow Hong Kong young democracy activists have received widespread global recognition and support including the 2018 award of the IAPC Democracy Medal by members of the International Association of Political Consultants from 30 nations.”
This included the US Congress passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act;
nominations by TIME and Fortune magazines; nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize; and
condemnation of Joshua’s imprisonment from many leaders and legislators including the U.K., Germany, Japan, Taiwan and USA.
Joshua’s family were welcomed to Australia in early 2021.
IAPC has awarded the IAPC Democracy Medal annually on 38 occasions since the 1980s, making it one of the oldest such awards in the world. It will be announcing the 2021 recipient voted by its members during its annual worldwide conference 4-5 November 2021.
The Medal is awarded to an individual or organization who has worked courageously to foster, promote and sustain the democratic process anywhere in the world.
IAPC Nov. 2021 Conference – 100% Virtual
8 October, 2021
Dear IAPC Colleagues,
With continuing uncertainty regarding COVID related travel and meeting restrictions, your IAPC board of directors unanimously voted to hold our 2021 conference via a virtual platform again this year.
Save the dates of November 4th and 5th, 2021, for our 54th World Conference! This year's theme is "Zooming Into the Future!" We will have a balanced program of panels and keynote speakers. More information to come soon!
As an incentive to existing IAPC members to renew your membership with the automatic annual renewal option selected, your $250 USD membership renewal fee will include complimentary 2021 conference registration! More information on how to renew your membership will be sent soon. For new members, your $400 initial membership fee will also include the conference registration!
This has been a difficult couple years for all associations and we truly appreciate your continued IAPC membership and support.
See you in November.
Statement by Maurucio de Vengoechea, IAPC President, on the Seamless Transition of Power with Inauguration of President Joe Biden
20 January 2021
Mauricio de Vengoechea, president of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), issued this statement following yesterday’s Inauguration of President Joseph R Biden, Jr.:
“Yesterday’s inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden as the 46th president of the United States struck the right tone for an American nation that has experienced such tremendous division during the past four years and especially during the past two weeks’ turmoil.
“By focusing his remarks on unity, decency and renewing America, President Biden’s call to ‘stop the shouting and lower the temperature’ will hopefully help cool political temperatures in Washington, D.C.
“The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of elections around the world. The events of January 6 highlighted that even in America, one of the world’s most stable democracies, it is fragile and must be protected.
About the IAPC:
Since 1968, the International Association of Political Consultants, an organization of political consultants worldwide, has committed itself to fostering democracy and the democratic process throughout the world. Learn more at www.iapc.org.
Statement by Maurucio de Vengoechea, IAPC President, on Today's Events at the U.S. Capitol
06 January 2021
MIAMI, FLA. (January 6, 2021) – Mauricio de Vengoechea, president of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), issued the following statement:
“Today is a dark day for democracy, the democratic process and the peaceful transition of power. On the day when the United States Congress undertakes its solemn and constitutionally mandated responsibility to officially count Electoral College votes, supporters of Donald Trump’s fraudulent election claims marched on the Capitol and rioted. These despicable acts resulted in at least one death, desecrated the U.S. Capitol and represent images often seen on television in other countries around the world.
“Since November 3, vast segments of the American public have been bombarded with Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen and results were fraudulent. None of these spurious claims have been proven. In fact, they have all been disproven in court.
“Today’s violence and disorder highlights that democracy is fragile. But hope springs eternal for a brighter day. America’s leaders must do better – if not immediately then on January 20 and thereafter. American voters and democracy deserve better.
“With more than 50 years as a global champion of democracy, the IAPC believes these events underscore the importance of ethical leadership, election transparency, respect for the facts and understanding and respect of due process in constitutional democracies.
About the IAPC:
Since 1968, the International Association of Political Consultants, an organization of political consultants worldwide, has committed itself to fostering democracy and the democratic process throughout the world. Learn more at www.iapc.org.
52nd IAPC World Conference on the Danube delighted the participants
19 December 2019
View conference photos here.
Some 120 participants from 26 nations appeared deeply impressed by the 52nd IAPC World Conference, which took place on a Danube river cruise from Passau to Vienna from 8 to 12 November 2019. Under the general question of the conference: “Democracy under pressure?”, around fifty speakers gave presentations and discussed the worldwide development of democracy in addition to revealing the latest trends in political campaigning.
An outstanding start with Max Zirngast
The conference began with the Austrian journalist Max Zirngast, who had been indicted in Turkey in 2018 for membership of a terrorist organization and spent over three months in a high-security prison before being acquitted in September 2019. He not only outlined developments in Turkey, but also presented a global review that confirms legitimate concerns about the state of democracy around the world. The lead-in was presented by former IAPC President Volker Riegger. Furthermore, the “Democracy in Danger” session also featured numerous examples from countries around the world where the quality of democracy has been compromised. In this regard, a discussion on the situation in Latin America, Russia and Scandinavia was hosted by Faye Diamond / USA and featured Mauricio De Vengoechea / Colombia, Ekaterina Egorova / Russia as well as Torbjörn Sjöström / Sweden.
The Rise of Women and the Challenge We Face
The first morning of the 52nd World Conference ended with a stimulating round table discussion on the role and challenges of women in society. Hosted by Mina Jordeby / Sweden, the discussion featured Regula Bühlmann / Switzerland, Ondine Fortune / USA, Milica Katic / Serbia and Justine Gaspar / Malta.
Visit to the Mauthausen Memorial
The afternoon of the first day of the conference was marked by a commemoration of the horrors of the Second World War. The guided tour through the former Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz and, in particular, the observation of a minute’s silence at the roll call ground with readings by Faye Diamond and Marcel Wieder was an extremely sobering experience for many of the participants. The event concluded with a presentation by former Austrian President Dr Heinz Fischer on “Democracy under pressure – learning from the past”, who was introduced by Sepp Hartinger / Austria. In his address, Dr Fischer shed detailed light on the background to this history and pointed to the lessons to be learned from it.
Europe as the lead-in to the second day
The second day of the conference began with a session on Europe and the EU in which the former Prime Minister of Slovenia and long-time MEP Alojz Peterle as well as Andreas Pfeifer, head of the foreign policy editorial department of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF and Gerda Füricht-Fiegl from Danube University Krems examined various problems and outlined ways and solutions. The session was hosted by Susanne Hartinger / Austria.
New trends in political communication
A further thematic focus consisted of presentations on the latest trends from all over the world. Participants followed the presentations with great interest. Hosted by Program Chair Melissa Cressey / USA, exciting news from a wide variety of campaigning disciplines was presented by Feyi Akindoyeni from Australia as well as Adam Hyland, Aubrey Montgomery, Josh Nanberg and Brent Buchanan from the USA.
Austria session at Danube University
One of the key issues discussed at Danube University in the afternoon was the state of Austrian politics. Hosted by Christoph Hofinger, this segment featured contributions by Katrin Praprotnik, Tamara Ehs and Judith Kohlenberger. An inspiring wine tasting at Nikolaihof, the world’s oldest winery, and an exclusive nighttime visit to the Krems art gallery completed the day’s schedule before the conference cruiser set off for Vienna.
US politics and elections around the world
The third day of the conference began with a guest presentation by Jim Gilmore, the American Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He emphasized the organization's importance to the world before dedicating himself to his theme: “Has President Trump changed democracy?” The session was hosted by Tom Edmonds / USA. Following this, assessments regarding the 2020 US presidential election were outlined by Doc Sweitzer for the US Democrats and Matt Klink for the US Republicans in a segment hosted by Dave Catanese before Kehinde Bamigbetan / Nigeria, Marilu Brajer / Argentina, Marcel Wieder / Canada, Necati Özkan / Turkey and Jan Juul Christensen / Denmark presented election campaigns from across the world in a session chaired by Crystal Martin / USA.
Award of the IAPC Democracy Medal as a grand finale
The official part of the 52nd World Conference concluded with the award of the IAPC Democracy Medal to Ekrem Imamoglu, the new mayor of Istanbul. The award was received on his behalf by Emrah Sahan, project coordinator of the Istanbul election campaign, in particular for conducting an election campaign without aggression and for his efforts as a peacemaker after the first elections had been annulled in Istanbul.
Visit to UNO-City Vienna
Another highlight of the accompanying program was a guided tour of UNO-City Vienna and a presentation given by Martin Nesirky, Director of UNIS Vienna.
The lifetime achievement award went to Sepp Hartinger
During the final gala dinner on board, Sepp Hartinger, Austria, a member of the IAPC since 1982 and its President from 1999-2001, was awarded the “Joe Napolitan & Michel Bongrand Founder Award for Lifetime Achievement” for the services he has rendered to the Association. Following on from Bo Krogvig / Sweden and Jon Gaul / Australia, he is the third member of the IAPC to receive this honor.
New Board of Directors
In addition, a comprehensive structural reform, prepared by President Mehmet Ural, was adopted at the IAPC General Assembly. This provides for a drastic reduction in the number of board members and a fixed allocation of responsibilities for each individual board member. The new 13-member Board of Directors was elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall commence its duties on 1 January 2020. It is composed as follows:
President: Mauricio De Vengoechea, Colombia
Treasurer: Melissa Cressey, USA
Secretary General: Matt Klink, USA
Vice President, Membership: Marilu Brajer, Argentina
Vice President, Conferences & Events: Crystal Martin, USA
Vice President, Fundraising: Wayne Johnson, USA
Vice President, Communications: Necati Özkan, Turkey
Vice President, Awards: Mina Jordeby, Sweden
Board Member, Membership: Marcel Wieder, Canada
Board Member, Conference & Events: Justino Pereira, Brazil
Board Member, Fundraising: Sal Russo, USA
Board Member, Communication: Kurtis Adigba, Nigeria
Board Member, Awards: Feyi Akindoyeni, Australia
All in all, the 52nd World Conference, which was staged for the first time on a river cruiser, offered unique impressions, both in regard to the speakers and the accompanying program. The discovery of such magnificent landscapes along the Danube shall also help the 52nd World Conference to long be remembered by all those who attended it. At this point we wish to express our special gratitude to all the participants and speakers, and in particular to Melissa Cressey as Program Chair, Sepp Hartinger as Conference Chair as well as to all our sponsors and the entire team of Hartinger Consulting for the implementation and organization of this event.
9 September 2019
When The International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) awarded the 2018 Democracy Medal, the world’s longest standing international democracy award, to three prominent Hong Kong democracy activist -Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow; young student leaders of the Umbrella Movement- we knew their struggle was important.
Today in Hong Kong millions of people are protesting to have their democratic rights protected. Sadly enough, Joshua Wong has been arrested by the Hong Kong police, along with over 900 other Hong Kong citizens protesting the pending extradition law, police brutality and lack of universal suffrage for free and fair elections in Hong Kong.
IAPC in the strongest terms condemns this political crackdown in defense of the rule of law, human rights and freedom of speech. IAPC invites the world to speak up for Hong Kong.
Global attention and protest may be the only protection such brave Hong Kong people have.
Click to download IAPC President Mehmet Ural’s letter to Carrie Lam -The Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region- and IAPC’s Press Release.
HONG KONG PROTESTS A TIMELY REMINDER THAT DEMOCRACY MATTERS
When the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) awarded the 2018 Democracy Medal to three prominent Hong Kong democracy activists – Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, student leaders of the Umbrella Movement – we knew their struggle was important.
The same brave young people who are today helping to inspire others in Hong Kong to fight for their human rights, were recognised at the IAPC’s 51st World Conference in Sydney, Australia last year.
“Millions of people in Hong Kong are today protesting to have their democratic rights protected and are winning in an incredible display of people power.” Stated IAPC President, Mehmet Ural, “It’s important to recognise and celebrate the brave people who risk life and liberty to protect the democratic rights of many. Recognition and global attention may be the only protection such brave people have.”
In 2018 the IAPC’s international membership voted to award the world’s longest-standing international democracy award to Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, young student leaders of Hong Kong’s civil disobedience Umbrella Movement, also known as Occupy Central.
“The 2018 IAPC Democracy Medal award recognised the courage and persistence of these student leaders to promote and sustain autonomy and democratic freedoms for Hong Kong in the face of increasing political control by the pro-Beijing authorities.
“As the global expansion of democracy has recently faltered against populist and authoritarian trends, their democratic mission offers a shining example for young citizens worldwide to emulate,” Mr Ural said.
Joshua Wong and his colleagues initiated the 79-day sit-in protest in Hong Kong from September 2014, the largest political demonstration in China since Tiananmen Square.
In August 2017, Joshua Wong (then 21), Nathan Law (24) and Alex Chow (27) were convicted and jailed for six to eight months for their roles in the early stages of the 2014 protests, barring them from running for political office for five years.
But in a stunning victory for the three young democracy leaders, Hong Kong’s highest court in February 2018 overturned the prison sentences of the trio. They had already served two months of their sentences when released on bail in November 2017.
Despite prison terms, political pressure and physical assaults, Joshua Wong and his colleagues remain defiant, continuing the peaceful efforts of the student leaders to achieve universal suffrage and protect the autonomy and freedoms guaranteed Hong Kong in the Sino-British joint declaration.
This declaration returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997 after 150 years as a British colony under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, allowing the former colony to maintain its unique political and economic system with rights of free speech, free press and free assembly guaranteed until 2047. But critics accuse Beijing of creeping interference in the city’s affairs and its government of toeing the Beijing line.
Jon Gaul | +61 414 603 133
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar: Today, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar received her certificate and bronze medal for the International Association of Political Consultants’ (IAPC) Democracy Award which she won in 1995.
Dr. Suu Kyi was awarded the Democracy Medal in 1995 however, the organization was unable to present it to her because of her house arrest during that time. Today, former president Rick Ridder and IAPC member Joannie Braden presented the award certificate and bronze medal to Dr. Suu Kyi in a ceremony in the Myanmar capital.
Upon the presentation, Mr Ridder read the following:
Each year at its annual conference, the International Association of Political Consultants awards its Democracy Medal to an individual or organization who, in the judgment of its membership, has worked courageously to foster, promote and sustain the democratic process anywhere in the world.
A burnished rendering of the Acropolis is etched in relief on the face of the large bronze medal. The back side contains the engraved name of the recipient and the year it was given. Appropriately, the certificate which accompanies the Medal includes this universally recognized definition of democracy.
In 1995, the Democracy medal was awarded to Aung Son Suu Kyi by the members of the IAPC. But circumstances prevented the presentation the medal at that time. Today on behalf the members of the IAPC, former president Bo Krogvig of Sweden, and current president Nancy Todd of the USA, I am pleased to present the Democracy Medal of the IAPC to Aung Son Suu Kyi of Myanmar 22 years later.
Dr. Suu Kyi in thanking the members of the IAPC reiterated her commitment to furthering democracy and free and fair elections. “It is a long road” she explained.