Kenyon College’s Center for the Study of American Democracy (CSAD) announced today the winner of the inaugural Leopoldo López Freedom and Democracy Award: Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng. 

The award was created in 2019 by family and classmates of prominent Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, a 1993 graduate of Kenyon, to honor his dedication to the peaceful advancement of freedom and democracy. It was given to Chen in recognition of Chen’s extraordinary commitment to the rule of law, a commitment which came at great personal sacrifice to him and his family. 

Chen will accept his award in a virtual event held April 8 at 6 p.m. EDT. Following the presentation of the award, Chen and López will engage in conversation about the importance of personal sacrifice in supporting democracy — an extraordinary discussion that will bring together two of the world’s most prominent exiles on the same virtual stage.

To watch this event, visit