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The Ion Ratiu Lecture is pleased to announce that the 2007 recipient of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture Award is Professor Anatoli Mikhailov. Professor Mikhailov is one of the leading personalities fighting for democracy in Belarus.

Dr. Mikhailov has been exiled to Vilnius for his opposition to the Lukashenko regime. A highly respected expert on German philosophy, Dr. Mikhailov is the Rector of the European Humanities University, a university he established in Minsk in 1992 in order to provide an alternative to the established education process inherited from the Soviet Union. After President Lukashenko took office in 1994, and especially after he began instituting "reforms" to consolidate his power, the university became a focal point of civic opposition. In 2004, the Lukashenko regime ordered the university shut down. Mikhailov was forced to leave the country and has been in exile in Vilnius since. The University was reopened in Vilnius since 2005 with EU help and is educating 270 graduate students in addition to a number of students that are taking long distance learning courses from the university.

The purpose of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture is to bring visibility and international recognition to the ideas and accomplishments of individuals around the world who are working on behalf of democracy. The event expresses the deep commitment to democracy of the late Ion Ratiu through his contributions as a Romanian politician as well as his interest in democratic change worldwide.

The 2007 lecture and award follows in the footsteps of the 2006 award given to Dr. Saad Ibrahim for his lifelong efforts on behalf of democracy in the Middle East.


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