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Bush Institute Announces Creation of “Freedom Collection”

February 3, 2013

The Bush Institute announced today that it will create a Freedom Collection, a repository of video histories and documents from the hallmark freedom movements of the twentieth century up to the present.

The Collection was announced by former President George W. Bush as he and Mrs. Laura W. Bush outlined their vision for the Institute, a center for scholarship and action that will focus on four major areas: education, global health, human freedom and economic growth. The Institute’s programs will also seek to empower women and social entrepreneurs. The Institute, on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, is part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which also includes an Archive and museum.

The Freedom Collection, which will be launched formally in 2010, will be housed in the Archive and will serve as a resource for current and future generations of activists, scholars and policymakers interested in studying the advance of human liberty.

“With the Freedom Collection,” said former President Bush in his speech, “the Bush Institute will send a message to dissidents, underground preachers, and political prisoners around the world: We hear your voice. And as you stand for your freedom, free people will stand with you.”

The Freedom Collection will contain:

A Video History Collection, recording the testimonies of freedom activists and dissidents from around the globe;
A Documentary Archive Collection, containing primary written and electronic records from freedom movements and leaders.
The Video History Collection will be available online. It will contain testimonies from past freedom movements as well as ongoing struggles from major leaders of the movements as well as less well-known activists.

In his speech at SMU, former President Bush announced that some of the pro-democracy leaders who will provide video testimonies for the project are:

Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic;
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia;
Kang Chol-Hwan, who escaped from North Korea and documented his experiences in North Korean labor camps in the book Aquariums of Pyongyang; and
Mohsen Sazagara, a former senior government official in Iran who is now active in supporting Iran's Green Movement.

Former President Bush also said in his speech, “Throughout the presidency, Laura and I met with democratic activists, defenders of religious freedom, and families of political prisoners. The Bush Institute will continue this cause by supporting advocates of freedom around the globe.”