About the 2016 Democracy Awards

Event Date:

13 Sep 2016
Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award is presented each year in a special ceremony to one Democrat, one Republican and a member of the international community who demonstrate the dedication to democracy and human rights embodied by the award’s namesake, former IFES Board of Directors Chairman Charles T. Manatt.

This year, IFES will honor Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Myanmar disability rights advocate Nay Lin Soe. They will receive the award at a special reception ceremony to be held on September 13 in Washington, D.C. The reception ceremony will be co-chaired by IFES Board Director and Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Project on Prosperity and Development Dan Runde and former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick. Radio Free Asia Managing Director Bay Fang will emcee the reception.

Individual reservations for the special ceremony are $500. The proceeds from the event will benefit the IFES Innovation Fund, an endowment that supports original projects that address pressing issues in democratic development today. IFES awards funds to outstanding proposals from staff that support local programs focused on promoting gender equality, adequate use of technology, electoral security, human rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

The evening will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony.

To learn more about the 2016 awardees, please read the press releases announcing the international honoree and the U.S. honorees.

Past Democracy Award Recipients


Professor Attahiru Jega, Nigeria
Hon. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 
Hon. Ed Royce (R-Calif.)


Maria Corina Machado, Venezuela
Hon. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
Hon. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)


Dr. Leonardo Valdés Zurita, Mexico
Hon. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.)
Hon. Kay Granger (R-Tex.)


Maimuna Mwidau, Kenya
Hon. David Dreier (R-Calif.)
Hon. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)


Judge Johann Kriegler, South Africa
Hon. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)


Ziad Baroud, Lebanon
Hon. M. Peter McPherson, USAID
Hon. David Obey (D-Wis.)

Recipients, 1996-2007

Hon. Lee H. Hamilton
H.E. José Miguel Insulza, Chile, OAS
Hon. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
H.E. Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine
Hon. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.)
Hon. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.)
Rev. Msgr. Agripino Núñez Collado, Dominican Republic
H.E. Ronald Reagan
Richard Soudriette, IFES