IFES Announces U.S. Recipients of 2018 Democracy Award

Senator Christopher Coons and USAID Administrator Mark Green to Receive Award in September
Senator Christopher Coons and Administrator Mark Green
Publication Date: 
23 Jul 2018

News Type:

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The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) will honor United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green (R) and Senator Christopher Coons (D-Del.) with its 2018 Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award. The honorees will receive the awards at a special ceremony to be held on September 24 in Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony will be emceed by Caraway Group President and CEO Yolanda Caraway and co-chaired by IFES Board Chairman Ken Blackwell and Smith-Free Group Senior Vice President Alicia Smith.

Ambassador Green serves as administrator of USAID, where he leads the agency’s international development and humanitarian efforts. He was president of the International Republican Institute (IRI) from January 2014 through his appointment to lead USAID. Ambassador Green previously served as president and CEO of the Initiative for Global Development and is a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania. He also served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Wisconsin’s 8th District. During his tenure in Congress, Ambassador Green worked on various foreign policy initiatives, including the Millennium Challenge Act and former President George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

“Ambassador Green has long demonstrated his commitment to sustaining democracy, rights and governance, first in the U.S. House of Representatives and now in his post at USAID,” said Blackwell. “His years at IRI uniquely position him to understand the challenges faced by electoral management bodies worldwide and the importance of continued democratic assistance.”

Senator Coons was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. He previously worked as an attorney for Delaware-based W.L. Gore & Associates and served in New Castle County government. He sits on the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics Committees, and is the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. He has been a leading advocate for stronger partnerships between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa and organizes “Opportunity: Africa,” an annual conference promoting trade and investment.

“Senator Coons’ efforts to advance democracy and human rights have been vital in the U.S. Congress, particularly on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy and Human Rights Caucus,” said IFES Co-Chairman Don Sweitzer. “His leadership has left a lasting impact on the United States and its allies and strengthened democratic institutions around the world, and we are proud to honor him with this year’s Democracy Award.”

“IFES has worked for over 30 years in countries around the world to empower citizens to exercise fundamental democratic rights and decide how they are governed,” said Senator Coons. “Investments in democracy, human rights, and governance programs are vital to global stability and prosperity. I am honored to count IFES as an ally in this vital work in countries like Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone. I humbly accept their 2018 Democracy Award, but the true heroes are those fighting for democratic rights and free and fair elections throughout the world today.”

The Charles T. Manatt Democracy Awards are presented each year to a Democrat, a 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.

Previous U.S. recipients of the Democracy Award include Representative David Price (D-N.C); former IFES Board of Directors Vice Chair Judy Black (R); Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas); Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.); Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Representative Ed Royce (R-Calif.); Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.); Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.); Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.); Representative Kay Granger (R-Texas); Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.); Representative David Dreier (R-Calif.); Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.); Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.); Representative David Obey (D-Wis.); Representative Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.); Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.); Representative Tom Lantos (D-Calif.); and Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.).


As the global leader in democracy promotion, IFES advances good governance and democratic rights by providing technical assistance to election officials; empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process; and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 145 countries, from developing democracies, to mature democracies. For more information, visit www.IFES.org.

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