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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 Senior Program Manager for the Human Freedom and Women's 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
Diaries from Seoul
This September, Human Freedom Manager Jieun Pyun, Leadership Programs Manager Chris Walsh, and Human Freedom Fellow Victor Cha led select Liberty and Leadership program alumni on a week-long training program in Seoul. The scholars took home lessons about South Korea’s democratic transition and economic growth. Below are daily team check-ins from Jieun and Chris.
Don’t Forget Human Rights When Dealing with North Korea
There has been a regrettable trend in U.S. foreign policy over the years to focus on the immediate security threat, at the expense of Pyongyang’s horrible treatment of its own people.
Growing Up As A North Korean Defector
Despite moving many times for safety and protection, North Korean defector Susie Seo made her education a top priority. She is now attending college in the U.S. and is hoping to work in cyber security when she graduates.