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On March 28, the Bush Institute will formally launch a new website, the Freedom Collection. This exciting project will spotlight the stories of dissidents and democracy and human rights activists from around the world. The Freedom Collection will serve several purposes; among the most important are informing those in free societies about the state of democracy and human rights elsewhere and providing inspiration and information to those who are still struggling to see their homelands transition to democracy. The men and women featured on the Freedom Collection range from respected world leaders like the Dalai Lama, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the late Vaclav Havel, former president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic; to less well known but equally compelling freedom advocates from places like Iran, Burma, Venezuela, Cuba, East Timor and China. Their powerful stories will be an important resource for better understanding why democracy and human rights are universal and why those of us who enjoy the blessings of freedom need to support efforts to spread these values. Prior to joining the Bush Institute, I was privileged to work for a leading democracy assistance group. I had the opportunity to work in Central Europe for seven years, helping to build democratic institutions, like political parties and civil society organizations. At the time, these countries were slowly emerging from communism and undertaking radical transitions of their political, economic, and social systems. Nearly 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Central Europe has changed beyond recognition. While the situation isn’t perfect, today’s Central Europeans enjoy prosperity and freedom unimaginable to previous generations. While the Central Europeans themselves deserve the lion’s share of the credit, support for their transition provided by the United States, Europe, and other democracies had an enormous positive impact. Freedom can’t be imposed from outside, but democracies can help those who are seeking to bring freedom to their countries. Just a few years after consolidating their own freedom, Central Europeans are now helping to support democracy and human rights activists in places like Belarus, Cuba, and the Middle East. Those of us living in free societies have a responsibility to support those still struggling for their own freedom. In the words of President Bush, “By definition, the success of freedom rests upon the choices and the courage of free peoples, and upon their willingness to sacrifice.” On March 28, I hope you will log on to the Freedom Collection (www.freedomcollection.org) to learn more about this cause. Watch an excerpt from Vaclav Havel's interview for the Freedom Collection here:This post was written by Lindsay Lloyd, Program Director of the Freedom Collection at the George W. Bush Institute.
Lindsay Lloyd is the Director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, where he manages original research and programmatic efforts to advance freedom and democracy in the world. Lindsay currently leads the Bush Institute’s Freedom in North Korea project, which raises awareness of human rights violations in North Korea, proposes new policy solutions, and engages leaders to help improve the lives of the North Korean people. Lindsay is also responsible for managing the Freedom Collection, a multimedia archive that documents the stories of nonviolent freedom advocates from around the word.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Lindsay served for 16 years at the International Republican Institute (IRI), most recently as senior advisor for policy. Previously, he was IRI’s regional director for Europe and co-director of the regional program for Central and Eastern Europe, which was based in Slovakia. At IRI, Lindsay worked with candidates, elected officials, political parties, and civil society activists to develop lasting democratic institutions.
Before joining IRI, Lindsay worked for several members and the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, as political director for a political action committee, and for Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.Full Bio