WASHINGTON, DC – Prominent global businessman Michael Psaros, co-Founder and co-Managing Partner of the private equity fund KPS Capital Partners LP warmly introduced Vladimir Kara-Murza, recipient of the Oxi Courage Award in Washington DC hosted by the OXI DAY Foundation.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, recipient of the Oxi Courage Award Vice President of Open Russia and leading activist for a civil society and democracy in Russia, Kara-Murza has been poisoned twice by his enemies and survived against all odds. He was elected to the Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition in 2012, and served as deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party from 2015 to 2016.
The author of two documentaries, They Chose Freedom and Nemtsov, Kara-Murza started his career as a journalist. He currently acts as Senior Fellow to the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and recently served as a pall bearer at Senator John McCain’s funeral.
Also Liu Xia was recipient of the Oxi Courage Award the widow of China’s most prominent human rights advocate, Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiabo. Liu Xia was recently freed in July 2018 after serving 8 years of confinement on house arrest despite having no charges leveled against her. She is a Chinese painter, poet and photographer.
Liu Xia met her husband Liu Xiaobo while they were both part of the Beijing literary scene in the 1980s. The two married while he was imprisoned in China in a labor re-education camp in 1996.
Liu Xia prefers to lead the solitary life; however, she has been described as her husband’s “most important link to the outside world.” In that role, she also personally experiences pressures from Chinese authorities for publicly voicing opinions.
Past recipients include:
* 2017: North Korean defector and human rights activist Ji Seong-ho who 3 months later featured in the State of the Union address
* 2016: Vice President Joseph R. Biden and son Beau Biden (posthumously)
* 2016: Escaped ISIS sex slave, UN Goodwill Ambassador and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nadia Murad (nominated by Amal Clooney)
* 2015: Leading human rights activist imprisoned in Azerbaijan Leyla Yunus (nominated and introduced by Bono)
* 2014: Journalist James Foley, just weeks after becoming the first American executed by ISIS. (President Bill Clinton introduced Foley and Jim’s parents accepted the award)
* 2013: Journalist John Githongo, who risked his life fighting corruption in Kenya. (nominated and introduced by Bono)
* 2012: Blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng whose US-aided escape from China led the world news in the spring of 2012
The Oxi Day Award is given each year to a man , living today in any part of the world, who has taken courageous action that contributed to the promotion or preservation of freedom and democracy.
The Oxi Day Award is inspired by the David vs. Goliath story of Greece’s actions during World War II and the incredible courage displayed by the Greek people. At the time, the free world watched as one by one 11 countries across Europe surrendered to Hitler’s Axis forces.
At 3:00 am on October 28, 1940, a representative of the Axis Forces arrived at the Prime Minister’s residence and demanded Greece’s surrender. The Prime Minister replied with a single world — Oxi — No.
Within hours, the Axis forces descended on Greece, expecting it to quickly fall. But the Greek resistance forced Hitler to change his plans. News of Greece’s victory flooded the radio airwaves and covered the front pages of newspapers and magazines (like Life Magazine) around the globe.
A grateful world celebrated — no one expected such a small nation to derail the seemingly unstoppable Axis forces.
Greece inflicted a fatal wound on the Axis forces at a crucial moment in World War II, forcing Hitler to change his timeline and delaying by two or more months the attack on Russia where the Axis forces eventually met defeat in the Russian winter.
Greece’s actions inspired Winston Churchill to say “If there had not been the virtue and courage of the Greeks, we do not know which the outcome of World War II would have been.” Even Adolf Hitler said, “Historic justice forces me to admit, that of all the enemies that stand against us, the Greek soldier, above all, fought with the most courage.”
The Greek people showed extraordinary courage against insurmountable odds, refusing to surrender and fighting to preserve their freedom. The Oxi Day Award was created to recognize those torchbearers of today who carry on that “Oxi Day Spirit” — the modern — day Davids among us who bravely fight for freedom and democracy around the world now and for ages to come.
Photo by Paul Morse/OXI DAY Foundation.