Democracy award for Indonesians
"Indonesian people, through demonstrations, brought about the collapse of the tyrannical Soeharto regime in 1998, and in 2004, the country held the largest single-day election ever held in the world, which went peacefully," Goddard said.
The award is given annually by the association, usually in recognition of leaders or figures who work for democracy. This is the first time that the accolade has been given to an entire nation. The IAPC is holding its annual meeting for the first time in
Goddard also acknowledged the role the Yudhoyono himself had played.
"He is a natural leader who inspires his people. He is imparting a vision for the country which the people believe in," he said in introducing the Indonesian president for the award after going through the long list of his achievements in the military and in public service.
Accepting on behalf of the 240 million people of
Yudhoyono, who won
"Democracy, some said, would not last long. The people were not ready. The country was too big. The nation was too complex. Democracy, they said, would lead to chaos and even the break up of
"My favorite columnist Thomas Friedman lamented that
"Today, we can take a sigh of relief as the good people of
"Despite the early years of turbulence, where we changed presidents four times between 1998 and 2002, our democracy is now producing stability and economic growth, the highest since the financial crisis (of 1998)," he said.
Past winners of the IAPC Democracy Award include Ukraine President Victor Yuschenko (2005), Iranian children's rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi (2004), Yitzhak Rabin of Israel (posthumously, in 1996), and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (1995).
The three-day IAPC conference will hear from seasoned politicians and political consultants, including Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Hong Kong democratic leader Martin Lee, and Indonesian House of Representatives Speaker Agung Laksono and former environmental minister Emil Salim.