Republic of Maldives Foreign Minister Dr. Ahmed Shaheed on Tuesday night received the Muslim Democrat of the Year Award at the end of the 10th Annual Conference of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.
In presenting the Award, Dr. Radwan Masmoudi, President of the CSID said that the Board of Directors of the CSID made the award every year to an individual who had made an outstanding contribution to democratization in the Muslim world. He said that the Award for the Foreign Minister was the first time that a politician in office was being honored and that this was in recognition of the contribution that Dr. Shaheed had made to the vast strides of democratization that the Maldives had taken in recent years.
The citation of the award read: “In recognition of your role in building democracy and preserving it in the face of hardship, for promoting tolerance and harmony, and for opening a window into a century of reason, freedom, human rights and democracy in the Maldives and South Asia.”
In accepxing the award, Dr. Shaheed said that he was greatly honored by the award and that he regarded it as recognition of the important steps that the people of Maldives had made in recent years. He said that he would like todedicate the award to his parents and family, who were exposed to danger and fear because of his beliefs and work, and further that he would like dedicate the award to his New Maldives colleagues in the former Cabinet and in the Open Society Association for their collaboration in promoting a pro-human rights agenda. The Minister also dedicated the award to President Nasheed for his courageous and relentless quest for regime change, and to President Gayoom for his courage in undertaking a high risk reform program and for showing the good grace to step down when he lost the election. Dr. Shaheed also said that he was dedicating the award to all the people of the Maldives who had embraced people power and called upon them not to abandon people power. The Minister also dedicated the award to his staff at the Foreign Ministry for their support in using his mandate as Foreign Minister to adhere to international norms on human rights in the Maldives.