Posted on April 28, 2004
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has received the Krieble Freedom and Democracy Award from the Free Congress Foundation for his work in promoting education about democracy and his bill "The American History and Civics Education Act." The Krieble Freedom and Democracy Award is presented to those Russian and American leaders who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy. "This is an unexpected honor and one I greatly prize," Alexander said upon receiving the award on Tuesday during the World Russian Forum on Capitol Hill. "I have known Paul Weyrich, founder of the Free Congress Foundation for a long time. I remember conversations that he and I had in the 1980s about the importance of Russia and how important it will be as Russia saw its destiny to do what was appropriate to encourage the teaching of democratic principles. "I would like to make sure, in the United States, that we have an understanding of our own democracy, which is why I am leading the fight in this country to try to put the teaching of American history and civics back in its rightful place in our school curriculum, so that our children can grow up learning what it means to be an American." Only 100 Krieble Freedom and Democracy Award pins have been minted. The first Krieble Freedom and Democracy Award was presented to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow. The second was awarded to former President Ronald Reagan. "Senator Alexander was one of the first to encourage Bill Lind, my colleague at the Free Congress Foundation, and myself in our view that the Soviet Union might be coming apart and that our country and its policymakers needed to be prepared for that," said Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation. "He offered to help the Krieble Institute efforts in Russia and is a major backer of the National Endowment for Democracy. Senator Alexander is one senator who cares deeply about spreading freedom and democracy around the world and wants to see to it that we do not squander the historic opportunity we now have to forge a relationship based on greater co-operation and trust with Russia." "Sen. Alexander has worked consistently and unceasingly to advance knowledge of democracy and civics education," said Steve Lilienthal, director of the Center for Privacy and Technology Policy at the Free Congress Foundation. "Sen. Alexander believes that it is important to both Americans and those who live in Russia and states comprising the former Soviet Union, to have a further understanding of how civics and democracy work, and we are pleased to present him with the Krieble Freedom and Democracy Award." Alexander's history bill, S.504, creates summer residential academies for teachers and students based on the successful Governor's School program in Tennessee that Alexander implemented as governor. The academies will focus on the key ideas, key documents, key events and key people who created our institutions and democratic heritage. In October, Senator Alexander's American History and Civics Education Act passed the Senate by a vote of 90-0, and awaits consideration in the House.