Democracy Ribbons 2011 in the category 'International' for Tahrir Square youth
This year the award ceremony for the Democracy Ribbons, which were handed out for the third year in a row, took place at the ‘Digital Democracy 2020' event on 25 November in Amsterdam. The Democracy Ribbons are awarded annually by the EPD, NIMD, Netwerk Democratie and ProDemos to individuals, groups and organisations who have made an extraordinary contribution to democracy.
Ahmed Maher receives Dimocracy Ribbon 2011 in the category 'International' on behalf of the Tahrir Square youth.
More pictures can be found in the Gallery.
The ‘Digital Democracy 2020' event focused on the impact of digitisation on the society and democracy. Major changes in the use and possibilities of the internet in virtually all sectors of society demand a new approach to the cooperation between citizen and government. In the 21st century, technological developments and new media have increasingly become intertwined with society and the practice of democracy.
Participants included policy-makers, application-developers, open data experts as well as interested citizens and journalists. The European Partnership for Democracy invited Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6th movement and Nobel Price Nominee, to speak about his experiences with social media as a platform for mobilisation.
Through the website www.dagvandedemocratie.eu, the public could nominate candidates in the categories "International", "Digital" and "National".
The three winners received their ribbon from last year's winner and member of the jury Mercedes Zandwijken.
The jury, consisting of last year's winners (Yael Patir and Nancy Sadiq of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum, Lot Feijen of Lijst 0 and Mercedes Zandwijken for her Think Tank Social Cohesion in the Neighbourhood) and chaired by Wim Deetman, Member of the Dutch Council of State, looked for candidates who have made special efforts to promote democracy; built bridges; paved new ways for democracy; and selflessly put energy into the improvement of society.
The 2011 Democracy Ribbon ‘International' went to the youth of the Tahrir square. The jury believes that these young activists deserve the award for their persistence and belief in freedom. They have indeed contributed to a global change in thoughts on democracy and therefore deserve attention as well as further support in their efforts to rebuild their nation. The ribbon was awarded to Ahmed Maher, who was invited on behalf of the European Partnership for Democracy. Ahmed has been playing a leading role in the Movement of 6 April, which has been a mayor driver behind the Egyptian people's uprising on Tahrir Square.
In the category 'Digital' the winner also comes from Egypt: Sandmonkey aka Mahmoud Salem. Social media played a major role in the revolution on and around Tahrir square. Mahmoud Salem's blog "Sandmonkey" reached and still reaches many people in and outside of Egypt and has been of great importance for developments in Egypt since the start of the popular uprising. Since 2005, Mahmoud Salem has been reporting on gatherings by demonstrators, using digital means like his blog to encourage people to join.
In the category 'National' the winner is Raja Felgata, a woman who has dedicated herself for years to improve the situation of coloured women in the Netherlands. Raja was the first anchor woman of Moroccan descent on the channel AT5. Today she uses her experience to draw attention to the great power of networks of women with 'colour and diversity'. She created a list with 101 important colourful women in the Netherlands as a countering force to the famous list of the most powerful women by the magazine 'Opzij'. Through her continued work for a more colourful Netherlands, Raja is an inspiration to many.
The Democracy Ribbons are an initiative of the European Partnership for Democracy, NIMD, Netwerk Democratie, and ProDemos.