NED Democracy Awards
On July 13, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) presented its annual Democracy Award to three Afghan civil society leaders. Sakena Yacoobi of the Afghan Institute of Learning, Mohammad Nasib of the Welfare Association for Development of Afghanistan, and Sarwar Hussaini of the Cooperation Center for Afghanistan have worked to educate citizens and local leaders about the basic values and principles of democracy, the importance of broad political participation, the rights of women and ethnic minorities, and strategies for peace-building and conflict resolution. The event featured remarks by U.S. under-secretary of state for global affairs Paula Dobriansky, Afghan ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad, and senators Hillary R. Clinton (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.). Preceding the awards ceremony, Francis Fukuyama moderated a panel discussion that included the three Afghan awardees, S. Frederick Starr, and NED vice-president Barbara Haig. More information about the NED’s Democracy Award and a video of the event can be found at www.ned.org.
Democracy Foundations Meet in Stockholm
On August 28–30, representatives of publicly funded organizations that work to support democracy convened in Stockholm for the Seventh World Meeting of Democracy-Promoting Foundations. The conference focused on the obstacles to democracy promotion and sought to encourage broader cooperation in the field. Sessions addressed such issues as women in political decision making, democracy and poverty, obstacles to credible elections, the difference between democracy assistance and regime change, and the consequences for democracy of HIV/AIDS and armed conflict.
The meeting was organized by [End Page 186] Swedish democracy-promotion foundations in cooperation with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and took place in the Swedish parliament. The last meeting was held in 2003 in Paris, organized by French democracy-promotion agencies.
The Thirteenth International Annual Meeting in Political Studies, entitled “The Trans-Atlantic Relationship in a Global World,” convened from June 29–July 2 in Cascais, Portugal. Hosted by the Institute for Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University, the conference brought together scholars, writers, and government officials from Europe, Asia, and the United States to participate in roundtable sessions and panel discussions. For more information, see www.ucp.pt.
Conference: Europeanization and Democratization
On June 16–18 in Florence, the Interuniversity Research Centre on Southern Europe, the University of Florence Center of European Excellence, and the Istituto Italiano Scienze Umane cosponsored a conference entitled “Europeanization and Democratization: The Southern European Experience and the Perspective for New Member States of the Enlarged Europe.” The convened scholars and experts discussed how Europeanization has shaped democratization and the transitions of new EU member states. Further information is available at www.cires-ricerca.it.
New Online Resources
The recently launched online news service MideastWire.com offers a daily email newsletter of concise, translated briefs covering some of the key political, cultural, economic, and opinion pieces appearing in the media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran, and the Arab diaspora. See www.mideastwire.com.
The Tunisia Monitoring Group, a coalition of 12 organizations belonging to the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, launched a new Web site to draw attention to the country’s human rights record in light of its hosting of the November 2005 World Summit on the Information Society. See http://campaigns.ifex.org/tmg.
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy has launched a new monthly publication, Democracy Watch, which will monitor political developments in the Middle East and North Africa. It is available in both Arabic and English at www.csidonline.org.
In July, the United Nations Development Programme and the London School of Economics and Political Science jointly published their first issue of a new quarterly newsletter, Development and Transition in Europe and Eurasia, which will discuss policy issues as well as challenges facing transitions in these regions. See www.lse.ac.uk/collections/DevelopmentAndTransition. [End Page 187]
Report on NED’s International Forum
On July 5–7, the International Forum, Bulgaria’s Centre for Liberal Strategies, and Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law cosponsored a workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria. The meeting, entitled “Paths to Democracy: Learning from the Reform Experiences of European, Post-Soviet, and Arab Countries,” brought together members of the global Network of Democracy Research Institutes with Western scholars to discuss transitions to democracy, the effects of domestic and foreign agents on democratic change, and prospects for democracy in the Arab world.
On September 6, the International Forum, in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, held a seminar entitled, “From Islamism to Muslim Democracy: The Challenges of Political Inclusion in Muslim Countries.” The featured speakers, both former political prisoners and leading Muslim democrats, were Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, and Saad Eddin Ibrahim, founder and chairman of the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. NED president Carl Gershman chaired the event, and the commentators were Larry Diamond, coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Vali Nasr, professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
A number of Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows in residence at the Forum gave luncheon presentations during June and July:
On June 17, Robert Mattes, associate professor of political studies at the University of Cape Town, spoke on “Democracy Without the People: Reassessing the South African Miracle.” Mattes’s presentation was based on the findings of the Afrobarometer, an ongoing survey of African attitudes toward democracy and market reform, of which he is cofounder and codirector.
On June 22, Andrew Finkel gave a talk entitled “How Not to Read a Turkish Newspaper: Promoting Accountability in a Globalized Media Environment.” Finkel is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul and has contributed to such publications as Time and the Economist, as well as to the Turkish-language press.
On July 20, a seminar on “Perspectives on Censorship in China” featured remarks by Guobiao Jiao, formerly associate professor at Beijing University’s College of Journalism and Communications. Guobiao was suspended following the online publication of his March 2004 essay condemning China’s Central Propaganda Department.
And on July 27, Michael McFaul gave a presentation entitled “Transitions from Postcommunism: An External Dimension,” based on his article in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of Democracy. McFaul is associate professor of political science at Stanford University, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.