NED Democracy Awards
On June 27, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) presented its annual Democracy Award to four outstanding democrats from Africa: Sierra Leonean human rights activist Zainab Hawa Bangura, who was recently chosen to serve as the chief civil affairs officer of the UN Mission in Liberia; Sudanese journalist Alfred Taban, publisher and chairman of the board of the Khartoum Monitor, Sudan’s only independent English-language daily newspaper; Congolese human rights activist Immaculée Birhaheka, cofounder and president of the organization Promotion and Support of Women’s Initiatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Zimbabwean human rights activist Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.
The event featured remarks by Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, and Representatives James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.). Preceding the awards ceremony, a roundtable discussion that included the four awardees, regional experts, and Representatives Payne and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) addressed “Africa’s Democratic Prospect.” See www.ned.org.
“The Other Russia” Conference
On July 11–12 hundreds of representatives of Russian civil society groups—including nongovernmental organizations, political parties, independent trade unions, and youth organizations from every region of the country—gathered in Moscow for “The Other Russia” conference. Held a few days before the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, the conference sought to bring international attention to the growing threats to democratic liberties and human rights in Russia. Foreign guests, including [End Page 186] representatives of G-8 nations, attended the conference.
In a closing statement, participants declared: “We aim to restore civil control of power in Russia, a control that is guaranteed in the Russian Constitution that is so frequently and unambiguously violated today. This aim requires a return to the principles of federalism and the separation of powers. It calls for the restoration of the social function of the state with regional self-administration and the independence of the media. The judicial system must protect every citizen equally, especially from the dangerous impulses of the representatives of power. It is our duty to free the country from outbreaks of prejudice, racism, and xenophobia and from the looting of our national riches by government officials.”
Comparative Democratization Section Awards
On September 2 at the American Political Science Association convention, the Comparative Democratization Section presented its annual awards. M. Steven Fish won the best-book award for Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics. Lucan A. Way won the best- article award for “Authoritarian State Building and the Sources of Regime Competitiveness in the Fourth Wave” in World Politics. Mieczyslaw Boduszynski won the Juan Linz Prize for Best Dissertation for his study of postcommunist regime change in the Yugoslav successor states. Manal Jamal won the award for best field research for her work on foreign assistance in Palestine and El Salvador. Marc Morjé Howard and Philip G. Roessler won the award for the best convention paper in 2005 for “Liberalizing Electoral Outcomes in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes.”
Iraq Memory Foundation Launches Newsletter
In June, the Baghdad-based Iraq Memory Foundation launched its English-language newsletter Memory. The first issue of the newsletter highlights two Foundation projects: The Documentation Project is preserving, digitizing, and analyzing more than eleven million pages of records on the inner workings of the Baathist institutions of repression and social control; and the Oral History Project is videotaping testimonials by Iraqis of different ethnic, religious, and class backgrounds.
Arab Elections Network Launches First Seminar
In June, the newly established Arab Elections Network—in cooperation with the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies and the International Center of Baghdad University—organized a seminar in Amman attended by fifty researchers from eleven Arab countries. Experts discussed election-system models in countries such as Germany, India, and South Africa. The Network includes 37 organizations from eleven Arab countries. [End Page 187]
Report on NED’s International Forum
The International Forum for Democratic Studies hosted the third Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) Washington workshop for think-tank managers on 11–15 September in Washington, D.C. The purpose was to strengthen NDRI-member institutions and improve the administrative skills of key staff members. Participants visited policy-research centers—including the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Heritage Foundation, and Center for Strategic and International Studies—and met with top administrators.
Participants in this year’s workshop included Olorunfunmi Alaka (Center for Democracy and Development, Nigeria); Hernán Alberro (Centro para la apertura y el desarrollo de América Latina, Argentina); Oleksandr Dyshlevyy (Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Ukraine); Ana Echague (Fundación para las relaciones internationales y el diálogo exterior, Spain); Zeina El Helou (Lebanese Center for Policy Studies); Jacek Kucharczyk (Institute for Public Affairs, Poland); Lilla Jakobs (Center for Policy Studies, Hungary); Johanna Reyes Marciales, (Congreso visible, Colombia); Marko Paunovic (Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies, Serbia); Besa Shahini (Kosovar Stability Initiative); and Tina Tkeshelashvili (Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy, and Development, Georgia).
The Forum hosted a number of luncheon presentations featuring Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows:
On June 1, Elena Gerasimova, director and cofounder of the Moscow-based Center for Social and Labor Rights, gave a presentation entitled “Fallen Icon: The Worker in Postcommunist Russia.” Michael Allen, editor of Democracy Digest, commented. On June 5, Joel Barkan, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Iowa, spoke on “Emerging Legislatures in Emerging African Democracies.” Larry Diamond, coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, commented. On June 15, Guillermo Jorge, an Argentine lawyer working on anticorruption and asset-recovery programs for Latin American governments and international institutions, gave a presentation on “Bridging the North-South Anticorruption Agendas.” On June 21, Indian journalist Vandita Mishra gave a presentation entitled “Assessing the Indian Model of Democracy.” On June 28, Grigorij Mesesznikov, president of the Institute for Public Affairs in Bratislava, gave a presentation on “The June 2006 Elections in Slovakia,” with comments by Kevin Deegan Krause, assistant professor of political science at Wayne State University.
In September, the Johns Hopkins University Press published the eighteenth Journal of Democracy book, entitled Electoral Systems and Democracy. Edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, the volume examines the heated debate about which system best promotes the consolidation of democracy. Cases studies are drawn from Latin America, southern Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Israel, Afghanistan, and Iraq.