Mrs. Eleonora Cercavschi, a human rights activist and the 2008 recipient of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award, will speak on Democracy and Freedom as Fundamental Human Rights. The Honorable Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and Samuel Donaldson, Chairman of the Wilson Council, and will provide introductory remarks.
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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 event expresses the deep commitment to democracy of the late Ion Ratiu through his contributions as a Romanian politician as well as his interest in democratic change worldwide. It is a historic event that reflects and joins the rich cultural traditions of Romania and the United States by promoting democratization at a time when fundamentalist thinking and movements are on the rise again around the world.
Mrs. Eleonora Cercavschi is a dedicated human rights and democracy activist In Moldova's Transnistria region. Through her remarkable accomplishments, in particular her leadership of the Stefan the Great High School (Stefan Cel Mare Si Sfint Lyceum) in Grigoriopol, Moldova, she has received recognition as a political activist and an educator. Mrs. Cercavschi demonstrated unparalleled commitment to securing the rights of high school children in Transnistria to education in their native language, and outstanding dedication to the cause of promoting democratic values.
Paula J. Dobriansky is the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and, in this capacity, is responsible for a broad range of foreign policy issues, including democracy, human rights, labor, refugee and humanitarian relief matters, and environmental/science issues. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Dobriansky served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her government appointments include Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the 1985 U.N. Decade for Women Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House. Dr. Dobriansky holds a Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.
Samuel Donaldson is a panelist for ABC News Now, and chairman of the Wilson Council. He has worked for ABC News for nearly four decades as a correspondent, anchor, and program co-host. Donaldson began working at ABC News in 1967, after moving to Washington, D.C. In 1977, he became ABC's chief White House correspondent — a post he held until 1989 — and quickly became known for his aggressive style of questioning. He was an anchor of World News Sunday for 10 years and for the next 10 was a co-host with Diane Sawyer of Prime Time Live. Since 1982, he has appeared on the panel of ABC's This Week with David Brinkley and had co-hosted the program, renamed This Week, with Cokie Roberts until 2002. He continues to appear on ABC News Now, the ABC News digital network, on a daily, half-hour, unscripted show, "Politics Live." He also appears on the This Week Roundtable regularly and is an ABC News contributor.