News and Notes

Issue Date July 2009
Volume 20
Issue 3
Page Numbers 183-85
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Philippe Schmitter Receives IPSA and Skytte Awards

The International Political Science Association (IPSA) honored Philippe Schmitter with the 2009 Mattei Dogan Award, one of IPSA’s highest honors for lifetime achievement. Schmitter, a longtime member of the Journal of Democracy Editorial Board, is professorial fellow and professor emeritus in the department of political and social sciences at the European University Institute in Florence.

IPSA’s Awards Committee states that Schmitter “has made an enormous contribution to the growth and development of Political Science…[His] rigorous research, his conceptual clarity and creativity and ability to transcend the boundaries of the discipline’s subfields have pushed the notion of what political scientists do to capture the meaning of what takes place in the polis to new heights.” The award, which is given every three years, will be presented at the 21st IPSA World Congress in Santiago, Chile, in July.

Schmitter also received the Johan Skytte Prize in political science from the University of Uppsala in April for “his path-breaking work on the role of corporatism in modern democracies, and for his stimulating and innovative analysis of democratization.” A prize ceremony will be held in Uppsala, Sweden, in September.

For more information, please see:,en and

Libyan Dissident Dies

Fathi al-Jahmi, a prominent Libyan political dissident, died on May 21 in a Jordanian hospital at age 68. A former provincial governor and an engineer, he called for free elections and a free press and criticized the country’s leader, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi. [End Page 183] He was arrested in 2002, released in 2004, and then rearrested two weeks later. It is believed he was denied proper care, and his health had deteriorated significantly by the time he was transferred to a hospital in January 2008, where he remained until he was moved to Jordan on May 5.

21st Century Authoritarians

On June 4, Freedom House, Radio Free Asia, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty convened a half-day conference on Capitol Hill to discuss their new report “Undermining Democracy: 21st Century Authoritarians.” A panel entitled “21st Century Authoritarianism and the ‘Battle of Ideas'” included remarks by Peter Beinart (Council on Foreign Relations), Robert Kagan (Carnegie Endowment), and James Traub (New York Times Magazine). A second panel analyzing authoritarian rule in four countries featured Perry Link (UC, Riverside) on China, Abbas Milani (Stanford) on Iran, Daniel Kimmage (George Washington U.) on Russia, and Javier Corrales (Amherst) on Venezuela. Opening remarks were presented by Rep. Alcee Hastings and closing remarks by Sen. Benjamin Cardin. For more information, see

Johannesburg +10 Conference

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project organized the Johannesburg +10 All Africa Human Rights Defenders Conference on April 20–23 in Kampala, Uganda. The conference brought together more than 100 human rights defenders from across Africa to discuss both their achievements since the 1998 conference held in Johannesburg and strategies to deal with new challenges. Participants included Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders; Carl Gershman of NED; and Maina Kiai, former chairman of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

“EU Policies on Democracy Support” Conference

On March 9–10, the Czech EU Presidency hosted a conference in Prague on “Building Consensus about EU Policies on Democracy Support.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the European Commission, the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), and the Association for Democracy Assistance and Human Rights (DEMAS) helped to organize the conference.

Topics covered included: “EU’s Democracy Assistance Viewed from Target Countries”; “Implementation and Efficiency of the EU Policy on Human Rights and Democracy”; “EU Democracy Assistance from the Perspective of EU Member States”; and “Democratic Governance: Development Cooperation and Mainstreaming of Human Rights and Democracy.”

Panelists came from all over the world; they included Richard [End Page 184] Youngs of FRIDE in Spain; Wadih Al Asmar of the Lebanese Center for Human Rights; and Arnold Tsunga of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association and the International Court of Justice. For more information, see:

NED’s International Forum

On April 26–28, the Forum organized a conference of its global Network of Democracy Research Institutes on “Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy.” The conference, hosted by the Bratislava-based Institute for Public Affairs and also cosponsored by Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), was funded by a grant from the United Nations Democracy Fund.

Papers were presented by Nancy Bermeo (Oxford) on “What Inequality Is and Is Not,” Bela Greskovits (Central European University) on Eastern Europe, Alberto Diaz Cayeros (CDDRL) on Latin America, and Stephan Haggard (UC, San Diego) on “Reforming the Welfare State in New Democracies.” Major sessions were devoted to each of these topics, and shorter sessions offered participants from Turkey, South Korea, Thailand, and India an opportunity to discuss relevant developments in their own countries and regions.

On June 11, former Reagan-Fascell Fellow Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, professor of democracy studies at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance, presented Where Europe Ends, her documentary film on the situation of countries on the new borders of the EU. Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion that included Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Center (which cosponsored the event), Charles Gati of SAIS, and Rodger Potocki of NED.

The Forum also hosted several luncheon meetings this spring featuring Reagan-Fascell Fellows.

On April 30, Jami Chandio, executive director of the Center for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS), a think tank based in Pakistan’s Sindh province, gave a presentation on “The Crisis of Federalism and Prospects for Provincial Autonomy in Pakistan.” Selig Harrison, director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, offered comments.

On May 27, Lila Iril, president of the National Association of Families of Missing Persons, an NGO that investigates forced disappearances in Algeria, gave a talk entitled “The Campaign to Create a Truth and Justice Commission in Post-Conflict Algeria.”

On June 8, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, founder and executive director of Nigeria’s Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL), gave a presentation on “Democracy Under Fire in the Niger Delta.” Peter Lewis, director of the African Studies Program at SAIS, commented.

On June 9, Enrique Peruzzotti, associate professor of political science and international relations at Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires, spoke on “Mediated Politics: Reassessing Democratic Representation in Latin America.” [End Page 185]