WASHINGTON — The Woodrow Wilson Center, the Ratiu Center for Democracy and the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation are pleased to announce that Professor Anatoli Mikhailov is the 2007 Recipient of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award. Mikhailov is the rector of the European Humanities University, a Belarusian university in exile in Lithuania, and one of Belarus’ leading human rights activists. The award will be presented at the Woodrow Wilson Center on November 15, 2007, during the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture.
Mikhailov has been exiled to Vilnius for his opposition to the Lukashenko regime. A highly respected expert on German philosophy, Mikhailov established the European Humanities University in Minsk in 1992 in order to provide an alternative to the established education process inherited from the Soviet Union. After President Lukashenko took office in 1994, and especially after he began instituting “reforms” to consolidate his power, the university became a focal point of civic opposition. In 2004, the Lukashenko regime ordered the university shut down. Mikhailov was forced to leave the country and has been in exile in Vilnius since. The University was reopened in Vilnius since 2005 with EU help and is educating 270 graduate students in addition to a number of students that are taking long distance learning courses from the university.
The purpose of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture is to bring visibility and international recognition to the ideas and accomplishments of individuals around the world who are working on behalf of democracy. The lecture strives to enrich the intellectual environment in which ideas about democracy and democratic change circulate, both within and beyond Washington. Sponsored by the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation (London, UK) and the Ratiu Center for Democracy (Turda, Romania) the event expresses the deep commitment to democracy of the late Ion Ratiu through his contributions as a Romanian politician and intellectual as well as his interest in democratic change worldwide. The 2006 Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture was given by Egyptian democracy activist Saad Ibrahim, who discussed the lessons for the Middle East countries from the process of transition to democracy in Eastern Europe.
The lecture will take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center, on November 15, 2007, from 16.30 – 18.00, in the 6th Floor Auditorium. For more information, visit www.wilsoncenter.org/ratiu
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the living national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a non-partisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and world affairs.