IFES Honors Dr. Dong Nguyen Huu with 2018 Joe C. Baxter Award

Bill Sweeney, members of the Nguyen family and Don Sweitzer
Publication Date: 
14 Sep 2018

News Type:

On September 13, 2018, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) presented the 2018 Joe C. Baxter Award to distinguished elections expert Dr. Dong Nguyen Huu at a reception hosted by the office of IFES Board member, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Dr. Nguyen currently serves as an advisor to the three Mexican electoral authorities – the National Electoral Institute, the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Branch and the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Offenses. He served on IFES’ Executive Advisory Board and has provided technical assistance to election management bodies in 35 countries, including Afghanistan, Haiti, Indonesia and Liberia.

IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney opened the Baxter Award ceremony, thanking friends and colleagues for joining together to honor Dr. Nguyen, and introduced IFES Board Co-Chairman Donald R. Sweitzer.

Dr. Nguyen and Sweitzer

Sweitzer reflected on the legacy of the award’s namesake, Joe C. Baxter, at IFES and his impact on elections in places like Ghana and Washington, D.C. In presenting the award to Dr. Nguyen, Sweitzer stated that “with his competence, impartiality, and discretion, Dong personifies an international community that is active and engaged, promotes essential values and condemns wrongdoings, but that also respects the history and self-determination of people around the world.”

“I know we can build law and institutions to protect freedom,” said Dr. Nguyen. “The discussions today about the crisis of representation, […] people have to trust, through transparency, through rule of law. As part of this community, we are those who can build this trust for institutions.” In closing, he thanked the Government of Vietnam for instilling in him a sense of service, the United Nations for its rights-based values and IFES for its technical expertise and respect for local solutions.

IFES is honored to have presented the 2018 Joe C. Baxter Award to Dr. Dong Nguyen Huu in recognition of his contributions to electoral administration, democracy, human rights and peace.

The Baxter Award is given in memory of the late Joe C. Baxter, a legendary figure in the field of international electoral assistance. Baxter began his work with IFES in 1994 as chief of party in Ghana, setting up mechanisms to register 9.2 million voters and train tens of thousands of election officials. In recognition of his efforts, he was named a chief by one of Ghana’s largest tribes. From 1997-2002, as a senior adviser to IFES, his professionalism, kindness and respect left lasting impacts on the people he worked with during missions to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Past recipients of the Baxter Award include Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission of Georgia Tamar Zhvania (2017); former President of Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections Chafik Sarsar (2016); Australian election management expert Michael Maley (2015); former Chief Electoral Commissioner and Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone Dr. Christiana Thorpe (2014); Professor of Political Science and Government at Aarhus University in Denmark Jørgen Elklit (2013); former Chairman of the Philippine Commission on Elections Christian Monsod (2012); Argentine campaign finance expert Dr. Delia Ferreira Rubio (2011); former Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan (2010); and Spanish elections expert Dr. Rafael López-Pintor (2009).