6th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy
On April 11–14, the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) held its Sixth Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Assembly, whose theme was “Solidarity Across Cultures: Working Together for Democracy,” brought together more than 550 participants from all global regions.
In more than 50 workshops and meetings of WMD networks, participants discussed issues such as liberation technology, legal restrictions on civil society, attacks on human-rights defenders and independent media, accountability, protecting minority rights, and engaging youth.
The Assembly opened with remarks by Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia. Other speakers at the opening session included Esraa Rashid of the Egyptian Democratic Academy; Tapera Kapuya of the World Youth Movement for Democracy—Africa; and Hans Tippenhauer of the Fondation Espoir in Haiti. The following morning’s keynote speaker was Susilo Bam-bang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, who discussed how to nurture democracy in the twenty-first century. An essay based on his speech can be found on pp. 5–10 of this issue.
The Assembly concluded with the John B. Hurford Memorial Dinner. At the dinner, sponsored by the Hurford Foundation, the World Movement’s Democracy Courage Tributes were presented to the human-rights movement in Syria, the student movement in Venezuela, the women’s movement in Iran, and the human-rights defenders in the North Caucasus. In addition, Ismail Alexandrani of Egypt and Daria Taradai of Ukraine were announced as the global winners of the World Youth Movement for Democracy essay contest.
Transcripts of the major speeches and other information [End Page 186] about the Assembly are available at www.wmd.org .
NDI’s 25th Anniversary Dinner
On May 10, at the National Democratic Institute’s 25th anniversary dinner, NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright presented Morgan Tsvangirai, prime minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, with the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award. In addition, Nimia Vargas accepted the Madeleine K. Albright Grant on behalf of the Network of Chocó Women in Colombia. The network is a group of 52 civil society organizations that works to increase women’s rights and political participation in Columbia.
NDI also premiered at the dinner a film entitled NDI’s First Quarter Century: Working for Democracy and Making Democracy Work, which was narrated by Christiane Amanpour of CNN.
On March 20–21, the Jamestown Foundation and the International School of Caucasus Studies at Ilia State University co-organized a conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, entitled “Hidden Nations, Enduring Crimes: The Circassians and the Peoples of the North Caucasus Between Past and Future.”
Panels focused on political and human-rights developments in Chechnya, the Northeast Caucasus, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia; on the Circassian diaspora; and on the history of the Circassian people.
Speakers included Ghia Nodia, director of the International School for Caucasus Studies at Ilia State University; Sophie Shihab of Le Monde; Fatima Tlisova, Reagan-Fascell Fellow at NED; Ruslan Keshev, chairman of the Circassian Congress; Andrei Babitsky of Radio Free Europe; Oleg Panfilov of Ilia State University; and Moshe Gammer of Tel Aviv University.
Democratization Conference in Argentina
On April 15–16, the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in collaboration with the National University of San Martín’s School of Politics and Government, organized a conference entitled “Subnational Democratization: Latin America, the United States, Russia, and India in Comparative Perspective.”
Participants included Guillermo O’Donnell of National University of San Martín; Laurence Whitehead of Nuffield College, Oxford; Carlos Gervasoni of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella; Edward L. Gibson of Northwestern University; Julián Durazo Herrmann of the University of Quebec in Montreal; and André Borges of the Universidade de Brasília. [End Page 187]
Edgardo Boeninger (1925–2009)
Edgardo Boeninger, a leading Chilean political thinker and a key figure in Chile’s transition to democracy from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, passed away on 13 September 2009. He served as chief of staff to President Patricio Aylwin from 1990 to 1994, and had been national budget director under President Eduardo Frei (1965–69), and rector of the University of Chile (1969–73).
Dr. Boeninger was a member of the Journal of Democracy’s International Advisory Committee. A tribute to him can found at www.cieplan.org/eboeninger/inicio/index.php .
NED’s International Forum
On April 23, the Forum organized a panel discussion on “The Challenges of Democratic Transition and Constitutional Design in Kyrgyzstan.” Panelists included Kathleen Collins of the University of Minnesota, Donald L. Horowitz of Duke University, Eugene Huskey of Stetson University (DeLand, Florida), and Andrew Reynolds of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. The group came up with a series of recommendations for the new Kyrgyz constitution. Their report can be found at www.ned.org/events/the-challenge-of-democratic-transition-and-constitutional-design-in-kyrgyzstan .
On June 3, the Forum held a panel discussion on “China, India, and the Future of Democracy.” The panel featured Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University, Sumit Ganguly of Indiana University in Bloomington, Bruce Gilley of Portland State University, Andrew Nathan of Columbia University, and Journal of Democracy editors Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner.
After the panel, NED president Carl Gershman presented Francis Fukuyama with the organization’s Democracy Service Medal in recognition of his nine years of outstanding service on the NED Board.
The Forum hosted several luncheon meetings this spring featuring Reagan-Fascell Fellows.
On May 5, visiting fellow Valerie Bunce, professor of government and international studies at Cornell University, gave a presentation entitled “When Does U.S. Democracy Assistance Work?”
On June 4, Farid Tuhbatullin, chairman of the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, spoke on “From Turkmenbashi to the Present: Prospects for Change in Turkmenistan.” Janice Helwig, a policy advisor for the U.S. Helsinki Commission, offered comments.
On June 15, Fatima Tlisova, an award-winning journalist with extensive experience in the North Caucasus, was scheduled to give a talk entitled “Brutal Censorship: Targeting Journalists in the North Caucasus,” with Jon Sawyer of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting as a commentator. [End Page 188]