News and Notes

Issue Date April 2009
Volume 20
Issue 2
Page Numbers 185-87
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Samuel P. Huntington (1927–2008)

Renowned political scientist Samuel P. Huntington died on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, on December 24. A longtime Harvard University professor and prolific author, he was best known for such important books as The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (1991) and The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order (1996). Professor Huntington was a founding member of the Journal of Democracy’s Editorial Board and frequent contributor to these pages. A panel discussion in honor of his life and work was held at the National Endowment for Democracy on March 10. The event will be reported in a future issue.

HornAfrik Director Killed

During the longstanding political conflict in Somalia, many people have suffered, but journalists have been especially at risk. Said Tahlil Ahmed, director of Somalia’s independent HornAfrik radio station, was murdered in Mogadishu on February 4. He was en route to a press conference called by al-Shabab, a hardline Islamist militia. He is the third employee of the station to be murdered in the past eighteen months. Eleven journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2007.

YIHR Meeting in Belgrade

On 19–20 November 2008, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) celebrated its fifth anniversary by hosting a conference of young European and Eurasian political leaders in the Serbian capital. Participants included U.S. ambassador to Serbia Cameron Munter, British ambassador Steven Wordsworth, and NED president Carl Gershman. The YIHR is a nongovernmental organization with programs in Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina [End Page 185] focusing on enhancing youth participation in the democratization of society and strengthening the rule of law.

World Movement Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi hosted a conference on February 27 celebrating the tenth anniversary of the World Movement for Democracy, which held its inaugural assembly in New Delhi on 14–17 February 1999. The conference featured panel discussions on: “Judiciary and Democracy,” “Democracy in South Asia,” and “Global Democracy: Consolidation and Expansion.” Speakers included George Mathew, director of the Institute of Social Sciences; I.A. Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; Rajinder Sachar, former chief justice of the Delhi High Court; Syed Muhammad Shah, president of the Lahore Bar Association; and David Lowe of NED.

Tocqueville Conference

The University of Chicago and Roosevelt University’s Montesquieu Forum hosted an interdisciplinary conference on March 5–6 marking the 150th anniversary of Alexis de Tocqueville’s death. The conference, entitled “Tocqueville and the Frontiers of Democracy,” featured panels on such topics as “Empire and Democracy: Tocqueville’s Lessons?” “Tocqueville’s Old Regime and the Frontiers of History,” and “America and the Frontiers of Democracy.” Panelists included Nestor Capdevila of the Université de Paris X, Paul Berman of New York University, and Ewa Atanassow of Harvard University, whose review of two books on Tocqueville appears on pp. 167–71 above.

ZLHR Receives Rights & Democracy Award

Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, Canada) awarded its 2008 John Humphrey Freedom Award to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on 13 November 2008. The award is given to an organization or individual for “commitment to the promotion of international human rights and democratic development.” ZLHR provides services such as legal support for victims of state-endorsed persecution, as well as public education and human-rights training for activists and civil society organizations working at the community level.

International Forum

On January 27, the Forum hosted a roundtable with Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on Carothers’s article in the January issue of the Journal entitled “Democracy Assistance: Political vs. Developmental?” Comments were provided by Larry Diamond. Participants included experts from Brookings, CSIS, [End Page 186] Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, USAID, IFES, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, UNDP, CIPE, the Solidarity Center, and NDI.

On January 30, the Forum and the Journal held a panel discussion entitled “Can Cuba Change?” The panelists were the authors of articles on Cuba that appeared in the January issue of the Journal, including Carl Gershman, president of NED, Orlando Gutierrez, visiting professor at Florida International University, and Eusebio Mujal-León, associate professor of government at Georgetown University.

The Forum also hosted a number of luncheon meetings this winter featuring Reagan-Fascell Fellows.

On January 22, Rajesh Dev, a senior lecturer in the department of political science at the Women’s College of Shillong in India’s northeastern state of Meghalaya, gave a presentation entitled “Democracy and Its Discontents: Dilemmas of Diversity in Northeast India.”

On January 29, Ihor Lylo, director of two popular political talk shows on the Ukrainian radio station The Lviv Wave, gave a talk on “The Future of Independent Media in Ukraine.” Comments were offered by Myroslava Gongadze, a Voice of America correspondent and widow of Ukrainian journalist Georgiy Gongadze, who was murdered in 2000.

On February 4, Sharon Wolchik, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and an expert on Central and Eastern European politics, gave a presentation entitled “The Day After: Democratizing Elections in Postcommunist Europe and Eurasia.”

On February 5, Frederic Loua, a lawyer who is president of Equal Rights for All (MDT), a nongovernmental organization in Guinea that provides legal assistance to adult detainees in Guinea’s largest prison, gave a presentation entitled “Guinea after the Coup: New Opportunities for Judicial Reform.” Maria Koulouris, program officer for natural resources and human rights at Global Rights, commented.

On February 12, Suvash Darnal, founding chair of the Jagaran Media Center, a nongovernmental organization working to promote Dalit rights in Nepal through research and activism, gave a presentation on “Securing Dalit Rights: The Case for Affirmative Action in the ‘New Nepal.'” Brian Joseph, director of the South and Southeast Asia program at NED, offered comments.

On February 25, Col. Birame Diop, an air-force pilot and technical advisor to the Ministry of Defense in Senegal, led the second of two roundtables entitled “Reforming Africa’s Armed Forces: Five Ways to Improve Civil-Military Relations.”

In March, the Forum welcomed a group of new Reagan-Fascell fellows: Lila Iril (Algeria), Niemat Kuku (Sudan), Antonio Maldonado (Peru), Gilbert Maondonodji (Chad), Anyakwee Nsirimovu (Nigeria), Siti Nurjanah (Indonesia), Ekaterina Osipova (Russia), Enrique Peruzzotti (Argentina), and Ronojoy Sen (India). Fellows Jami Chandio (Pakistan) and Omar Afifi Soliman (Egypt) arrived in January, and will be in residence until May. [End Page 187]