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Readout of the President's Meeting with the National Endowment for Democracy's 2011 Democracy Award Recipients

The President met today with two young activists from Tunisia and Egypt who have personal connections to the historic events that have forever altered the trajectory of the region: Jamel Bettaieb, a young Tunisian blogger, teacher, and labor union activist from the town where Mohammed Bouazizi lit himself on fire, and Zahraa Said, the sister of Khalid Said, a young Egyptian businessman whose killing, after he posted a video with evidence of police corruption, spawned the now-famous Facebook page called, “We Are All Khalid Said,” which was a major catalyst in Egypt’s recent revolution.

They are in Washington to accept the 2011 Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy on behalf of all those ordinary citizens in Egypt and Tunisia who rose up to demand their basic human rights, including the hundreds of courageous individuals who gave their lives to further the cause.

The President commemorated the struggle and sacrifice of citizens throughout the region, and reaffirmed our strong support for the transitions to democracy now underway in Tunisia and Egypt.  He emphasized that the work of building democratic institutions and consolidating change is difficult and demands patience, and welcomed the leadership of emerging voices within civil society, especially young people, whose actions will ultimately determine the future of their countries. He reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to support the universal rights of all the people  of the region.

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