Before an audience of top U.S. policymakers, officials from the White House and from the State Department, and opinion leaders from think tanks and the media, the Washington Oxi Day Foundation presented, for the 8th consecutive year, its ‘Oxi Courage Award’. The ceremony took place on Thursday, October 25, at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
This year, the ‘Oxi Courage Award’ was presented to two individuals: the twice-poisoned Russian democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, and Chinese poet Liu Xia, the widow of China’s famous dissident and Nobel laureate Liu Xaibo.
Also honored was Howard Lorber, the chairman of the board of the United States Holocaust Museum, who received the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award which recognizes the courage of the Greeks during the Holocaust.
The purpose of the Oxi Day Foundation is to honor modern-day activists for freedom and democracy, specifically those who reflect the David versus Goliath courage shown by the Greek people during World War II.
Previous recipients of the Oxi Courage Award award include:
2017: North Korean defector and human rights activist Ji Seong-ho, who 3 months later was referenced by the President of the United States in the State of the Union address.
2016: Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Beau Biden (posthumously).
2016: Escaped ISIS sex slave and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nadia Murad (nominated by Amal Clooney).
Imprisoned Azerbaijani activist Leyla Yunus (nominated and introduced by Bono), who weeks later was freed from jail.
Journalist James Foley, just weeks after becoming the first American executed by ISIS. (President Bill Clinton introduced Foley, and his parents accepted the award).
Earlier in the day, at the National World War II Memorial, the Oxi Day Foundation also honored three World War II veterans, a Greek, a Greek-American and an American, alongside Korean War veteran Michael Johnson, who received the Michael Jaharis Service Award for his service in the war and continued service to the Greek-American community.
The three World War II veterans who were honored were 101-year-old American veteran Celestino Almeda, who was nominated by Senator Bob Dole, himself a previous recipient of the award; 97-year-old Rear Admiral Theodoros Lymberakis, a Greek veteran who fought alongside U.S. troops in the historic D-Day battle; and (posthumously), Alexander Georgiades, a Greek-American member of the OSS, precursor to the CIA.