Society for Democratic Initiatives, Sierra Leone is pleased to announce the award of the Reagan-Fascell fellowship award to its founder and executive director, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai.
Sierra Leonean born Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai was yesterday, April 3rd 2008, awarded the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Award for his exemplary contribution to the development and sustainability of democracy in Sierra Leone.
The award which is given by the International Forum for Democratic Studies (IFDS), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was established by the former President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan, to honour scholars and practitioners promoting democracy around the world.
It was established primarily to support democratic activists, human rights advocates, journalists, and others who work on the front lines of democracy promotion in emerging and aspiring democracies around the world.
The award seeks to provide experienced activists with an opportunity to reflect on their work, learn from counterparts in the United States, and re-evaluate techniques for building democracy in their country of origin.
According to Dr. Sally Blair, Director of the fellowship program, in the letter of the Award, the Board “received over 400 (nominations) for fellowships in 2008–09. After a lengthy and rigorous review process, the Endowment’s Board of Directors recently approved 17 fellowship awards for the coming fellowship year.”
She went on to state that Mr Abdulai “…should feel extremely proud of (his) achievements to be included in this group”. “You are at the top of a truly impressive group of activists, journalists, practitioners, and scholars committed to promoting democracy worldwide”, she concluded.
As the youngest recipient ever, 29 years, Mr. Abdulai would therefore take-up a five month resident with the International Forum for Democratic Studies, in Washington, USA, to engage in critical intellectual reflection on experiences in July 2009.
The only other Sierra Leonean to have been honoured by IFDS-NED is Mrs. Zaniab Hawa Bangura, present Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Abdulai is the founder and executive director of Society for Democratic Initiatives, Sierra Leone (SDI) based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He has contributed immensely to the fight for freedom of information and expression in his country.