News and Notes

Issue Date January 2014
Volume 25
Issue 1
Page Numbers 184-186
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

On December 5, as this issue was in its final stages of being readied for press, word came that Nelson Mandela, hero of South Africa’s democratic transition and its first postapartheid president, had passed away at the age of 95. Mandela was one of the greatest democratic leaders of the past century, and we look forward to taking note of his achievements in our April 2014 issue.

NED’s 30th Anniversary

To celebrate its thirtieth anniversary, the National Endowment for Democracy held an event on November 13 at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and NED president Carl Gershman delivered remarks.

The event included a panel featuring Senators John McCain (RAZ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Ed Royce (R-CA). ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos served as moderator.

Tenth Annual Lipset Lecture

On November 7, Donald L. Horowitz, James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science Emeritus at Duke University, gave the tenth annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Its title was “Ethnic Power-Sharing and Democracy: Three Big Problems.”

He also delivered the lecture at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto on October 30. An article based on the lecture will appear in the Journal’s April issue. Horowitz is working on a book on constitutional design for ethnically divided societies. [End Page 184]

Human-Rights Awards

On November 8, Transparency International celebrated its twentieth anniversary by awarding its 2013 Integrity Award to a pair of journalists: Rafael Marques de Morais (Angola) and Luo Changping (China).

Marques produces the anticorruption blog In February 2013, he was acquitted of libel charges in a Lisbon lawsuit raised by nine generals named in his 2011 book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, which was published in Portugal. On September 20, Marques and two other journalists were arrested while conducting interviews outside a Luanda courthouse, and Marques reportedly received a beating while in custody. In 1999, he was imprisoned for an article he wrote entitled “The Lipstick of the Dictatorship.”

In December 2012, Luo uncovered a massive bribery scandal involving Liu Tienan, then-deputy head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission. When the financial magazine Caijing, where Luo serves as deputy managing editor, refused to print his story, Luo published it on his blog. A subsequent government investigation resulted in Liu’s removal from office and expulsion from the Communist Party.

On November 20, Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2013 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The award ceremony at the European Parliament came just over a year after Yousafzai, now 16, was shot in the head and neck by gunmen affiliated with the Taliban. Yousafzai had angered extremist groups by arguing publicly for the right of Pakistani girls to attend school. Her memoir, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, was published in October.

On October 22, Burmese human-rights advocate Aung San Suu Kyi appeared before the European Parliament to accept the Sakharov Prize that was awarded to her in absentia in 1990.

Bahrain Conference

On November 2, the Norway-based Rafto Foundation for Human Rights held a conference in Bergen entitled “Bahrain’s Arab Spring: The Inconvenient Revolution.”

During the conference, the Rafto Foundation presented its annual prize to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Acting president Maryam al-Khawaja accepted the award on behalf of the Center and delivered a keynote speech. The conference also featured remarks by Nicholas McGeehan of Human Rights Watch, Justin Gengler of Qatar University, Renée Rasmussen of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, and Walid al-Saqaf of Örebro University.

Colloquium on Transitions

This past fall, the Center for Constitutional Transitions at New [End Page 185] York University School of Law held its second Constitutional Transitions Colloquium, entitled “Emerging from / Sliding back into Authoritarianism.” The colloquium comprised seven events held between September 4 and December 4, focusing on democratic transitions, authoritarian backsliding, and the role of constitutional dynamics in each process.

V-Dem Project Launch

On October 25, the University of Gothenburg hosted an event to launch Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), a project organized by the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame to measure the quality and types of democracy worldwide.

V-Dem will feature a dataset measuring all countries of the world from 1900 to the present according to 329 indicators. The dataset is scheduled to be publicly available in 2015. More information on V-Dem is available at

NED’s International Forum

On September 30, the Forum hosted a panel discussion entitled “Putin versus Civil Society.” The discussion featured remarks by Leon Aron of the American Enterprise Institute, Miriam Lanskoy of NED, and Robert W. Orttung of the George Washington University. Aron and Lanskoy contributed articles on Russia’s protest movement to the July issue of the Journal. Orttung’s article (coauthored with NED’s Christopher Walker), “Breaking the News: The Role of State-Run Media,” is featured on page 71 above.

On October 15, the Forum hosted a discussion entitled “Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?” featuring Pavel Khodorkovsky of the Institute of Modern Russia, journalist Peter Pomerantsev, Vladimir V. Kara-Murza of the Republican Party of Russia-People’s Freedom Party, and Christopher Walker of NED. NED president Carl Gershman delivered opening remarks and Christian Caryl, editor of Foreign Policy’s Democracy Lab, served as moderator.

On October 17, the Forum hosted a lecture by Carole Kariuki, CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance. It was the third 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. John D. Sullivan, executive director of the Center for International Private Enterprise, gave opening remarks, and Peter Lewis, associate professor of African Studies at SAIS, served as moderator.

The Forum also hosted a December 12 event featuring Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow, human-rights lawyer, and journalist Jitman Basnet (Nepal), who gave a talk entitled “Nepal’s Crisis and Journey Toward Peace and Democracy.” [End Page 186]