Secretary Kerry on International Day of Democracy

There are few ideas more powerful – more infused with universal aspiration – than democracy.

The desire for democracy is shared by people the world over. The privilege to vote, the freedom to speak your mind, the right to a government by the people and for the people, these are ideas that continue to inspire – from the Egyptians who took to Tahrir Square, to democracy activists in Burma, to the brave Ukrainians who took to the ballot box earlier this year.

Today we recognize International Day of Democracy, a day set aside to a way of life that allows each and every citizen to participate in his or her government. This year’s theme — Engaging Young People on Democracy — powerfully underscores the importance of youth in building and preserving democracy.

Democratic societies are strong societies, because people are free to speak out against injustices and to discuss, debate, and work together to drive positive change – even with those who hold opposing views. In a democracy, we are free to choose our leaders, hold government institutions accountable, and work with those institutions to build a more stable and prosperous future for all members of our society.

As the United States works to strengthen our democracy at home, we will continue to support those around the world fighting for their voices to be heard.