"To me, being a champion of democracy means that you dedicate your life to defending the ideals of democracy throughout your entire life."
Adrian Noy is a sophomore studying economics and political science. Adrian has championed democracy as a three-time congressional intern, learning about the legislative branch and the work of his representatives in Miami-Dade County.
What does being a "champion of democracy" mean to you?
As a second-generation Cuban-American immigrant growing up in Miami, Florida, I have grown up hearing the stories about how a fragile democracy can turn into a dictatorship. This has fueled my personal passion and professional interest to investigate issues relating to American democracy. To me, being a champion of democracy means that you dedicate your life to defending the ideals of democracy throughout your entire life.
How did your experience as a congressional intern shape your understanding of democracy and what it means to champion it?
As an intern for both Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar and Senator Marco Rubio – both Cuban-American immigrants – I was able to engage in many on-the-ground activities throughout Miami-Dade County that instilled, in me, the value of democracy. By frequently intervening in immigration cases on behalf of constituents seeking to come to the United States, most from autocratic states, I recognized the disparities of many trying to flee autocratic regimes.
Do you have a favorite course or book that you found helpful for thinking about democracy - either in the US or abroad?
One of my favorite courses that I found helpful for thinking about democracy was World Politics. Through this course, I was able to analyze and compare many of the political systems around the world and determine which ones are most susceptible to autocratic rule.
Who is a public leader or historical figure that you admire, or would consider a model 'champion of democracy'?
I believe that Ronald Reagan is a champion of democracy. Through his determinism and perseverance, he was very influential in knocking down the Berlin Wall, which was a symbol of much of the suffering that the Eastern Bloc had to undergo throughout the Cold War through their autocratic rule. By being an influential force in knocking down the wall, he was also a major force in the collapse of the Soviet Union, which brought democracy to many nations.