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Imagine if regimes like China, Russia, and North Korea were allowed to shape the world. Basic rights would be trampled and anyone opposing their worldview would suffer. That’s why the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative promotes U.S. leadership in extending freedom to people everywhere. We’re developing a new generation of democratic leaders in Burma, advancing policy that improves the human condition in North Korea, and elevating freedom advocates who risk everything for liberty. In doing so, we support those who are struggling against oppression and remind Americans about the preciousness of their own freedom.
Here are just a few examples of how freedom matters to people around the world:
- Freedom matters to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a former prisoner of conscience who could not receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him in 2007 because he was incarcerated for promoting democracy and human rights in Cuba. Nine years later, he left Cuba for the first time and received his medal from President George W. Bush. Watch the medal presentation:
- Freedom matters to Tayzar San, one of several young leaders driving Burma's democratic transition. He founded a public library and social science research center in his native Mandalay that provides academic resources for students and promotes issue-based, political discourse that’s sorely lacking in Burmese society. See what the Liberty and Leadership Forum is accomplishing in Burma:
- Freedom matters to North Korean refugees like Ji Seong-ho who trek thousands of miles across China to escape the oppressive regime controlling their homeland. Learn more about the Bush Institute’s recommendations on how the public and private sectors can improve the human condition in North Korea in Light Through the Darkness.
Christopher Walsh serves as a Manager for the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Christopher manages communications, evaluation, and public policy research projects that advance freedom and democracy in the world. He also develops and implements efforts to make the Bush Institute a welcoming place for today’s generation of dissidents and democracy advocates, overseeing visits for training, inspiration, and insight.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Christopher worked with the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C. As IRI’s program officer for Central and Eastern Europe, he coordinated political party building and civic advocacy programs in the Balkans and Turkey.
A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Christopher is a graduate of American University with a B.A. in International Studies. He currently lives in Dallas with his wife and three young children.Full Bio
ICYMI: Bush Institute Young Leader Discusses the Rohingya Crisis on Nightline
Bush Institute Liberty and Leadership Forum young leader Nickey Diamond (Ye Myint Win), of Yangon, Burma, recently spoke to ABC’s Bob Woodruff about the Burmese government’s brutal persecution of the Rohingya people. During the interview, Diamond explained how one-sided messages from the Burmese government and Buddhist leaders manipulate the general public into hating the Rohingya and believing they are terrorists. The segment also enabled Diamond to share his human rights work, which documents Burmese military officers’ crimes against humanity. Diamond has been threatened and often worries for his family’s safety. Still, he told Woodruff, “They’ll never stop what I’m doing.” Watch the full story on ABC Nightline.
Global Leadership: A Look Back At 2017
As we celebrate 2017, we reflect on some of the top moments from the Bush Institute's Global Leadership Impact Center, home to the Human Freedom initiative, Women's Initiative, and Global Health initiative.
Religion and Democracy
Matthew Wilson discusses the role of religion in countries seeking democracy and/or experiencing a human rights movement.