In a Speech to Senate, the Late Amb. Mark Palmer Advocated for Greater Student Involvement in Democracy Efforts
In a statement read before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ambassador Mark Palmer praised Students for Global Democracy and suggested greater support for student based democratic movements. Amb. Palmer was the ambassador to Hungary during the Cold War and witnessed the fall of Communism there. Since that time he has become a leading proponent for greater funding to fight what he calls the “Real Axis of Evil” – authoritarian countries around the globe. In his book, Breaking the Real Axis of Evil, Amb. Palmer suggests that the world can be completely free and democratic by the year 2025 and advocates the use of non-violent methods to produce democratic change. His speech is a testament to the growing reach of SGD and the power for students around the globe. For the complete text of his speech, please click here.
From Indonesia to Hungary, and more recently from Serbia, to Ukraine and Nepal, students and young people have been at the forefront of a majority of peaceful ousters of dictators over the past four decades. Those who founded Students for Global Democracy at Indiana University recognized that students outside dictatorships can help. For students from democratic countries to show solidarity by visiting their colleagues inside dictatorships, and where they are willing to take the risks to join in demonstrations, sit-ins and other non-violent actions, could make a massive difference – just as northern students like me gave encouragement to those on the front line in the South during our own civil rights struggle merely by our presence. Training by young people experienced in non-violent conflict for those inside is increasingly taking place but is still under-funded. And funding, direct or indirect, of student and youth groups committed to action is even more grossly under-funded. We need a special students for Global Democracy Fund which would be run by student and youth leaders from democratic universities and groups across the democratic world – who would give direct financial assistance to their colleagues inside the Not Free countries. The middle aged both inside our existing NGOs and within governments somehow are not comfortable aiding students and youth. Another $50 million per year would be money very well spent. 12 Jun 2006 03:11 pm by Graham Gardner.