Polish think tank gives Ilves Knight of Freedom award
The Casimir Pulaski Foundation, a Polish think tank, has bestowed the 2016 Knight of Freedom Award on former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves for his contributins to developing global security.
The award was given to Ilves at the Warsaw Security Forum on Thursday evening, a spokesperson for Ilves said.
Speeches were made at the awards ceremony by former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt and Edward Lucas, senior editor at the Economist.
Bildt said in his speech that during the Estonian head of state's time in office, Ilves made Estonia — and the whole region — bigger in the eyes of world leaders who otherwise would not have shown interest in Estonia or the region in general. According to Lucas, Ilves put Estonia on the world map, which for a country the size of Estonia is not only a matter of recognition as a nation but also of security as well.
In his thank-you speech, Ilves remarked that freedom and democracy, which the Western world has taken for granted, have come under threat, noting that the reasons for this were both undemocratic outside forces as well as omissions made by the democratic world itself.
Once a year, the Casimir Pulaski Foundation decorates an outstanding person who has promoted the values represented by General Casimir Pulaski — freedom, justice and democracy — with the Knight of Freedom Award.
Previous recipients of the award include former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, former Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, former Polish Presidents Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski as well as French politician and physician Bernard Kouchner and former US Senator Richard Lugar.