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Nominate the International Recipient of the 2019 Democracy Award

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award recognizes the exceptional work of individuals who demonstrate unwavering commitment to freedom and democracy. IFES presents the Democracy Award annually to three individuals: a Republican, a Democrat and a member of the international community. The recipients of the Democracy Award embody the character and spirit of former U.S. Ambassador and IFES Board of Directors Chairman Charles T. Manatt.

Manatt served as chairman of IFES’ Board of Directors from 1993 to 1999 and was a distinct leader, dedicated to spreading democracy around the world and nurturing the next generation of political leaders.

The three Democracy Awards are presented in a single ceremony each year. The nominations process for the international recipient of the 2019 Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award is now closed.

Award Criteria

The final selection of the international recipient is based on the following criteria:

  • Impact on the field of democracy. Recipient’s personal and professional achievements have had a demonstrable and positive impact on the field of democracy. 
  • Focus on the next generation of leaders. Recipient’s commitment to nurturing and empowering the next generation of pro-democracy or civil society leaders. 
  • Sustained dedication. Recipient’s sustained achievements in terms of longevity, legacy and impact. 
  • Social change/progress. Recipient’s work has improved social environments, public attitudes, structures or policies. 
  • Inspirational leadership. Recipient’s leadership skills have touched and inspired others to join the democracy movement. 
  • Alignment with IFES’ mission. Recipient works/has worked in a country or countries where IFES has/had a presence or with partner organizations that share a commitment to democratic values. 
  • Diversity and inclusion. Recipient represents an underserved group and/or has worked to increase access of underrepresented populations to the political process. 
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted. 
  • The award is not given posthumously.

Past Honorees

Past recipients of the Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award:


  • The Honorable Christopher Coons, U.S. Senator (D-Del.)
  • The Honorable Mark Green, Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (R)
  • Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President, Liberia

*A special legacy award was also presented to former IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney.


  • The Honorable David Price, U.S. Representative (D-N.C.)
  • Judy Black, former IFES Board of Directors Vice Chair and Government Relations Policy Director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (R)
  • His Excellency Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Uruguay


  • The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Representative (D-Texas)
  • The Honorable John Barrasso, U.S. Senator (R-Wyo.)
  • Nay Lin Soe, disability rights advocate, Myanmar


  • The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative (D-Calif.)
  • The Honorable Ed Royce, U.S. Representative (R-Calif.)
  • Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria


  • The Honorable Steny Hoyer, U.S. Representative (D-Md.) 
  • The Honorable Jerry Moran, U.S. Senator (R-Kan.)
  • Maria Corina Machado, opposition leader, Venezuela

*Special legacy awards were also presented to former IFES Board of Directors Chairman Peter Kelly and Vice Chairman Bill Hybl.


  • The Honorable Richard J. Durbin, U.S. Senator (D-Ill.)
  • The Honorable Kay Granger, U.S. Representative (R-Texas)
  • Dr. Leonardo Valdés Zurita, former President of the Federal Electoral Institute, Mexico


  • The Honorable Nita Lowey, U.S. Representative (D-N.Y.)
  • The Honorable David Dreier, U.S. Representative (R-Calif.)
  • Maimuna Mwidau, gender advocate, Kenya


  • The Honorable Patrick Leahy, U.S. Senator (D-Vt.)
  • The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, U.S. Representative (R-Fla.)
  • Johann Kriegler, judge, South Africa


  • The Honorable David Obey, U.S. Representative (D-Wis.)
  • The Honorable M. Peter McPherson, former United States Agency for International Development Administrator
  • His Excellency Ziad Baroud, former Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Lebanon


  • His Excellency José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Chile
  • The Honorable Lee H. Hamilton, U.S. Representative, (D-Ind.)

*An award was also presented to former IFES President and CEO Richard Soudriette.

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