NED Democracy Awards
On September 18, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was scheduled to present its annual Democracy Award to four champions of press freedom working in Southeast Asia, Venezuela, Egypt, and Russia, respectively.
This year’s honorees were: 1) Thai journalist Kavi Chongkittavorn, assistant group editor of Nation Media Group, publisher of The Nation, Krungthep Turakij, and Kom Chat Luek in Thailand; 2) Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS)-Venezuela, an organization that works for freedom of expression and freedom of the press (its director Ewald Scharfenberg accepted the award on the organization’s behalf); 3) Egyptian journalist Hisham Kassem, publisher of Al-Masry Al-Youm (The Egyptian Today) and chairman of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights; and 4) Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an outspoken advocate for human rights and an end to the war in Chechnya, who was murdered on 7 October 2006. Ms. Politkovskaya was given the award posthumously, and investigative journalist Elena Milashina, her former colleague at Novaya Gazeta, accepted the award on her behalf.
The Capitol Hill award ceremony featured remarks by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Freedom of the Press. The presentation was preceded by a panel discussion among the four honorees and addressing the topic “Defending Free Media in Difficult Environments.”
Rights & Democracy Holds Conference in Morocco
On June 8–9, approximately 200 people from around the world took part in a conference in Casablanca, Morocco, entitled “Democracy, A [End Page 186] Universal Value?” The conference was organized jointly by the Casablanca-based Collectif Démocratie et Modernité and Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development), a Montreal-based NGO that promotes, advocates, and defends the democratic and human rights set out in the International Bill of Human Rights.
Panelists examined the current state of democracy and contemplated its future in four roundtable discussions: “Is Democracy a Universal Value?” “Democratic Values and the Plurality of Political Systems,” “Democracy and Secularism,” and “Democracy, Citizenship and Civil Society.”
Participants included Saad Eddin Ibrahim, professor of political sociology at the American University of Cairo and general secretary of the Egyptian Independent Commission for Electoral Review (ICER); Byunghoon Oh of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK); and Mohamed Sghir Janjar, director of the Moroccan periodical Prologues.
For additional information, please see: www.dd-rd.ca/site/events/index.php?date=2007-06-08&lang=en&type=General.
Arab Workshop on “Peace in Darfur”
On May 11–12, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, the Arab Program for Human Rights Activists, and the Save Darfur Consortium convened a workshop in Cairo on “Peace in Darfur.” The participants discussed the “humanitarian disaster” in Darfur and issued a joint working plan among Arab and African organizations to “push the political process forward” and to deal with the human rights violations arising from the conflict.
The meeting issued the “Cairo Declaration for Peace in Darfur” (www.darfurconsortium.org/APHRA-05-18-07.html), containing a broad range of recommendations, including a call for Arab governments to take a more active role in seeking to settle the conflict and in supporting humanitarian relief.
Jamestown Conference on Democracy
As part of the 400th anniversary celebration of the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, a conference entitled “World Forum on the Future of Democracy” was scheduled to be held on September 16–18. It was the culminating event of a year-long series of conferences on the “Foundations and Future of Democracy.”
Panel topics included “Developing a Structure for Deliberative Democracy—The Framers’ Debate,” “Protecting Religious Freedom and Minority Rights,” and “Are America’s Founding Principles Relevant in a Global Age?” Speakers included former U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor and PBS News Hour anchor James C. Lehrer.
For more information, please see www.jamestowndemocracy.org. [End Page 187]
Report on NED’s International Forum
The International Forum for Democratic Studies was scheduled to host the fourth Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) workshop for think-tank managers on September 17–21 in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the workshop is to strengthen NDRI members as institutions and to improve the administrative skills of key staff members. The eleven participants visited policy-research centers in Washington, including the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Heritage Foundation, and others. They met with top administrators responsible for fundraising, budgeting, book publishing, communications and outreach, website development, and networking.
Participants in this year’s workshop included Flora Maria Aguilar (Centro Estudios para el Futuro, Costa Rica); Nagham Al Akkad (Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan); Stella I. Amadi (Center for Democracy and Development, Nigeria); Einav Livne Ben-Eliezer (Israel Democracy Institute); Delgermaa Banzragch (Academy of Political Education, Mongolia); Anna Ganeva (Centre for Liberal Strategies, Bulgaria); Maria Eugénia Nobre Gambôa (Institute for Political Studies, Portuguese Catholic University); Nenad Koprivica (Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Montenegro); Nancy Merheb (Lebanese Center for Policy Studies); Ernesta Edem Selormey (Ghana Center for Democratic Development); and Ugis Oskar Ziemelis (Gulf Research Center, United Arab Emirates).
During the summer, the Forum hosted a number of luncheon presentations featuring Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows:
On June 28, Bernadeta Killian, senior lecturer in the political science department at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, gave a presentation entitled “Identity Politics in Zanzibar and the Challenges of Democratic Consolidation in Tanzania.” Shari Bryan of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs commented.
On July 9, Rahma Hugaira, cofounder and chairwoman of the Yemeni Female Media Forum, spoke on “Redesigning the ‘Social Contract’: Toward Political Empowerment of Women in the Arab Gulf.” Dalal Hasan of the National Endowment for Democracy commented.
On July 10, Thein Lwin, director of the Teacher Training Center for Burmese Teachers, gave a presentation entitled “Education and Democracy in Burma: Decentralization and Classroom-Level Educational Reform.” Sein Win of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma and Brian Joseph, director of the South and Southeast Asia Program at the National Endowment for Democracy, offered comments.
On July 17, Jose Luis Gascon, executive director of the Manila-based LIBERTAS (Lawyer’s League for Liberty), gave a presentation entitled “Democratic Recession in the Philippines: What Went Wrong?” Robin Broad, professor of international development at American University, commented.