Prague, 2 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- International tycoon and philanthropist George Soros has been named "Man of the Year" for 1996 by a pro-government cultural association in Kyrgyzstan.
Rukhaniyat, a three-year-old organization with foreign sponsors including Turkey, made the announcment today in Bishkek. It praised the local branch of the Soros Foundation, which last year alone donated more than $4 million to support more than 40 educational and cultural programs in the Central Asian country.
Soros visited Bishkek in November and met President Askar Akayev. The Hungarian-born Soros is known for his donations of huge sums of money to support democracy and the spread of free media in the former Communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.