Center for Communications, Health and the Environment
|Summer 2015||Vol. 9, Issue 1|
Dietary Fat & Heart Disease Debate Commands New Attention
Mark Palmer and His Contributions Memorialized Through New Democracy Forum and Award
Two prominent Washington, D.C.-based organizations are honoring the legacy of former Ambassador and CECHE Cofounder and Vice Chairman Mark Palmer and his profound, global contributions to the cause of freedom.
In January 2015, Freedom House, a nonprofit that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights, unveiled The Mark Palmer Forum for the Advancement of Democracy and named its D.C. conference room after the accomplished diplomat. Two months later, in March 2015, the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the professional group of the U.S. Foreign Service, established The Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy – the first such distinguished achievement award for a U.S. Foreign Service officer or member of any U.S. foreign affairs agency.
Palmer Forum at Freedom House
to Assess and Advance Democratic Transitions
Going forward, the Forum will explore ways to improve global prospects for democracy and human rights, including more effective public policy formulation and execution, and expanded civil society partnerships. In addition, it will strive to build a track record to enable greater financial support for these causes. To accomplish this, Freedom House plans to arrange meetings for human-rights and digital-freedom activists with congressional and administration officials through the Forum, thereby increasing opportunities for policymakers to hear first-hand accounts from frontline activists, give activists a larger platform to share their insights and policy recommendations, and heighten awareness among congressional leaders and administration officials of the global crackdown on civil society and the growing constraints on independent media.
In addition, Freedom House plans to use The Palmer Forum as a focal point to form a coalition of like-minded civil society partners committed to encouraging measurable, positive improvement in democracy around the world, including entities such as the Council for the Community of Democracies, National Endowment for Democracy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Atlantic Council. This coalition will meet at least annually at Freedom House or another relevant location. By bringing key people together to brainstorm solutions and promoting advocacy and events to spotlight the challenges democracy faces in today’s world, Freedom House intends to build The Palmer Forum into a serious entity.
To date, Forum-sponsored events, which are announced regularly on the Freedom House website (https://freedomhouse.org/event-types/mark-palmer-forum#.VU5X8bd0yUl), have included:
Palmer Award Recognizes U. S. Officers Active in Promoting Democracy and Freedom
Also supporting the global cause of civil society and human rights, the AFSA Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy is an annual accolade designed to recognize an officer who embodies bold and creative achievement and employs imaginative, determined and effective means to enhance democracy and expand freedom. While open to all U.S. Foreign Service members serving domestically or abroad from any of the foreign affairs agencies, the award is particularly intended to spotlight early- to mid-career level officers. It consists of a $2,500 prize, as well as a stipend to attend the June presentation ceremony in Washington, D.C. Award nominations are reviewed by a panel of judges, and the winner is announced in early spring.
Chargé d’affaires Andrew Young has been named the first recipient of The Palmer Award. Chosen from among 17 nominees on April 2, 2015, Young is currently posted at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali. Important factors in the judges’ selection of Young were his exemplary work in Burma in the late 1990s to support Nobel Laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi and the Burmese National League for Democracy, as well as his efforts in the U.S. Congress in 2005 to promote the Advance Democracy Act, legislation that Ambassador Palmer himself initiated. Currently, Young is engaged in courageous work involving peace negotiations between rebel leaders and the government in war-torn Mali.
Young embodies both the spirit and standards of The Palmer Award, candidates of which are expected to have:
Both The Palmer Forum and The Palmer Award are supported by Dr. Sushma Palmer, Mark’s wife of 47 years, through her contributions to the Center for Communications, Health and the Environment (CECHE).
|Copyright © 2015 Center for Communications,
Health and the Environment (CECHE)
Dr. Sushma Palmer, Program Director
Valeska Stupak, Writer, Editor & Design Consultant
Shiraz Mahyera, Systems Manager
Rohit Tote, Website Consultant