News and Notes

Issue Date April 2014
Volume 25
Issue 2
Page Numbers 188-190
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Robert A. Dahl (1915–2014)

On February 5, Robert A. Dahl, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Yale University, passed away. Among his many works, Dahl is best known for Who Governs? Democracy and Power in an American City (1961) and Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition (1971). He contributed two articles to the Journal during its early years. Dahl served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1966–67. In 1995, he became the first recipient of Uppsala University’s Johan Skytte Prize in political science.

Joel D. Barkan (1941–2014)

Joel D. Barkan, senior associate in the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and professor emeritus of political science at the University of Iowa, died suddenly on January 10.

Barkan’s scholarship focused on African institutions and their relationship to democratization and development. He was the author of five books, most recently Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies (2009). Before his death, he was a co-principal investigator for the African Legislatures Project, a comparative study of seventeen African legislatures.

Barkan contributed six articles to the Journal. His most recent article, “Kenya’s 2013 Elections: Technology Is Not Democracy,” appeared in the July 2013 issue.

He served on the Forum’s Research Council and was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow (2005–2006).

Robert A. Pastor (1947–2014)

Robert A. Pastor, who served as director of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs on the U.S. [End Page 188] National Security Council during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, passed away on January 8.

Following his work in the Carter administration, Pastor was a political science professor at Emory University and the first director of the Latin America and Caribbean program at the Carter Center. He later became a professor at American University.

An expert on election monitoring and mediation, he contributed a number of articles on these topics to the Journal.

Chinua Achebe Forum

On December 9, Bard College held the inaugural Chinua Achebe Leadership Forum under the theme “Africa’s Future: Mandela, Achebe, and Empowerment in Africa.” Ghanaian president John Dramani Mahama delivered a lecture entitled “Women in Africa: How the Other Half Lives.”

The lecture was followed by a panel discussion on women and development and democratization in Africa, featuring Nana Oye Lithur, Ghana’s minister for gender, children, and social protection; Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, Liberia’s ambassador to the United States; Amini Kajunju, president of the Africa-America Institute; and Peter Rosenblum, professor at Bard College. Nwando Achebe, professor at Michigan State University and Chinua’s daughter, served as moderator. Christie Achebe, psychology professor and Chinua’s widow, also gave a talk.

Human-Rights Summit

On February 25, the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy awarded Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng the Geneva Summit Courage Award.

Before escaping and seeking asylum in the United States, Chen spent nearly seven years imprisoned or under house arrest on charges connected to his humanrights advocacy. Chen, currently a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, was a recipient of NED’s 2008 Democracy Award.

The Summit included five panel discussions focused on issues of human rights, democracy, and authoritarianism.

Constitutional Design in the Muslim World

On April 7, the Northwestern University School of Law was scheduled to conclude its colloquium series entitled “Constitutional Design in the Muslim World” with a talk by Ergun Özbudun of Istanbul Şehir University and Asli Ü. Bâli of UCLA regarding the Turkish constitution.

The colloquium, which began last September, comprised presentations on eight countries with large Muslim populations: Iran, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Egypt, and Turkey.

Videos and working papers from the presentations can be accessed at [End Page 189]

NED’s International Forum

On January 28, the Forum and George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies cohosted a panel discussion entitled “Breaking the News: The Role of Authoritarian State-Run Media.” The panel featured NED’s Christopher Walker and George Washington University’s Robert Orttung, whose article under the same title appeared in the January 2014 issue of the Journal. The panel also featured the University of Canterbury’s Anne-Marie Brady, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Golnaz Esfandiari, and the University of Maryland’s Sarah Oates.

On January 29, the Forum hosted a lecture on Burma by Gwen Robinson, a journalist and senior fellow at the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. The talk was the fourth in a series entitled “The Role of Economics in Democratic Transitions,” a joint initiative of the Forum, the London-based Legatum Institute, World Affairs, and Democracy Lab. NED’s Brian Joseph delivered introductory remarks and Legatum’s Anne Applebaum served as moderator.

The Forum also hosted several meetings featuring Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows:

On January 15, Charles Mangongera, a Zimbabwean humanrights and governance researcher, gave a talk entitled “Zimbabwe’s Military and the Prospects for Democratic Reform.” Eric Robinson of NED offered comments. An article based on Mangongera’s presentation appears on pp. 67–76 above.

On January 30, Senegalese hiphop artist and civil society activist Thiat delivered a talk entitled “Y’en a Marre: Youth and Social Engagement in Senegal.”

On February 6, Myo Aung Htwe of the Yangon School of Political Science gave a talk entitled “The Rise of Student Unions in Burma: Efforts to Strengthen Democratic Practice.”

On February 11, A.K.M. Nasim of the Solidarity Center’s field office in Bangladesh delivered a presentation entitled “Strengthening Democratic Practices in Bangladesh: Empowering Workers in Export Processing Zones.” The Solidarity Center’s Tim Ryan commented.

On February 12, Ukrainian journalist Sergii Leshchenko gave a talk entitled “Ukraine’s Lessons Learned: From the Orange Revolution to the Euromaidan.” Nadia Diuk of NED and Matthew Kaminski of the Wall Street Journal offered comments.

On February 18, Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem delivered a talk entitled “Promoting Democracy Through the Performing Arts in Pakistan: The Story of the Ajoka Theatre Group.”

On February 26, Brazilian human-rights activist Renato Lanfranchi gave a presentation entitled “Building Inclusive Democracy in Brazil: Civil Society’s Advances and Challenges.” [End Page 190]