News and Notes

Issue Date April 1999
Volume 10
Issue 2
Page Numbers 184-87
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Global Movement for Democracy Launched

On February 14–17, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Confederation of Indian Industry, and the Centre for Policy Research (India) co-sponsored a conference in New Delhi aimed at “Building a World-wide Movement for Democracy.” Planned as the first in a series of regular assemblies, the conference brought together over 400 democracy supporters from more than 80 nations to discuss how best to defend and promote democracy.

A keynote address on “Democracy as a Universal Value” was delivered by Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics. There followed plenary sessions on “Democracy and Development: The Political Foundations of a Market Economy”; “Democracy and Diversity: Managing Pluralism”; and “Challenges of Democratic Governance: Accountability, Human Rights and the Rule of Law.” Conference delegates also participated in nine workshops on the following topics: “Democracy and NGOs: Advocacy and Coalition Building”; “Political Parties and Democracy: Reform and Renewal”; “Policy Research Institutes and Democracy”; “Trade Unions and Democracy in a Changing Global Economy”; “Civic Education for Democracy”; “New Communications Technologies as Tools for Democracy Building”; “Democracy Assistance Foundations: Expanding the Network”; “Democracy and Market Institutions”; and “Transparency and Accountability: Fighting Corruption.”

Prominent speakers at the conference included Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; several leading Indian political figures, including External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, Defense Minister George Fernandes, former prime minister I.K. Gujral, and former finance minister Manmohan Singh; and U.S. [End Page 184] congressmen Gary Ackerman, Lloyd Doggett, James McDermott, and David Price. Indian prime minister A.B. Vajpayee and U.S. president Bill Clinton addressed the conference in videotaped messages.

Other notable speakers included Olisa Agbakoba (Nigeria), Sergio Aguayo (Mexico), Genaro Arriagada (Chile), Czeslaw Bielecki (Poland), Sonja Biserko (Serbia), Richard Celeste (U.S.), Margaret Dongo (Zimbabwe), Peter Eigen (Transparency International), Ernesto Herrera (Philippines), Asma Jehangir (Pakistan), Ivan Krastev (Bulgaria), Emilio Lamo de Espinosa (Spain), Annette Lu (Taiwan), Ashis Nandy (India), Ayo Obe (Nigeria), Zbigniew Romaszewski (Poland), and Frank Wisner (U.S.).

The conference concluded on February 17 with the adoption of a founding document establishing the World Movement for Democracy (see pp. 178–81 above). Further information is available online at

Canadian Conference Calls for Peace in Congo

A conference on “Durable Peace and Democratic Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)” was convened in Montreal on January 29–30 by Canada’s International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (ICHRDD), in collaboration with a number of Congolese organizations based in Canada. Nearly a hundred representatives from Congolese civil society, political parties, churches, and other organizations (both inside and outside the DRC) participated, along with observers from the Canadian government, Canadian and African nongovernmental organizations, and a number of African states. The conference focused upon four main themes: ceasefire and peacekeeping; preliminary conditions for the creation of a democratic space; transitional democratic institutions and the conditions for their establishment; and permanent democratic institutions for the new republic. For additional information, including a statement of principles and plan of action adopted at the conclusion of the conference, see the ICHRDD website at

Washington Conferences Consider Corruption

Two major conferences on corruption took place in February in Washington, D.C. On February 22–23, the Development Center of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in cooperation with the Center for International Private Enterprise and the U.S. Agency for International Development, hosted a conference entitled “Fighting Corruption in Developing Countries and Emerging Economies: The Role of the Private Sector.” Participants explored the private sector’s part in the war on corruption; highlighted success stories [End Page 185] in developing countries and emerging economies; discussed strategies for the future; and generated recommendations for concerted private-sector action.

On February 24–26, the U.S. government hosted a conference on “Fighting Corruption: Safe-guarding Integrity Among Justice and Security Officials” attended by representatives from governments, multinational organizations, and nongovernmental organizations around the world. The conference began with a welcome from U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright and a keynote address by the conference chairman, Vice-President Al Gore. Topics covered included “The Significance of Corruption Among Justice and Security Officials,” “Economic Governance, the Private Sector, and Corruption,” “Ethics Regimes in the Public Sector,” and “Strategies for Making Corruption Visible.” More information may be found online at

Internet Database on Human Rights in Chinese

On 10 December 1998, in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor established the “Chinese United Nations Human Rights Treaties Database.” The database provides Internet access to various UN human rights treaties in both complex and simplified Chinese characters. For further information, visit

Seoul Symposium on Democracy and Markets

The World Bank and the Government of Korea cohosted a conference in Seoul on February 26–27 entitled “Democracy, Market Economy and Development.” The conference opened with introductory addresses by Korean president Kim Dae Jung (see pp. 181–82 above) and World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn. These were followed by a “Political Leaders Symposium” that included speeches by Felipe González (former prime minister of Spain), Fidel Ramos (former president of the Philippines), Yasuhiro Nakasone (former prime minister of Japan), Oscar Arias (former president of Costa Rica), and Poul Schluter (former prime minister of Denmark). Addresses were also delivered by economists Amartya Sen (Trinity College, Cambridge) and Joseph Stiglitz (senior vice-president of the World Bank).

Conference sessions focused on such issues as “Values, Governance, and Development” (with a presentation by Francis Fukuyama, George Mason University); “Corporate Governance and Economic Development” (with a presentation by Jang Ha-Sung, Korea University); “Rule of Law, Corruption, and Economic Development” (with a presentation by Daniel Kaufman, World Bank); and “Governance and Political Economy of Reform” [End Page 186] (with a presentation by Stephan Haggard, UC-San Diego). The conference concluded with four panel discussions on civil society: “Workers’ Stake in Restructuring and Growth”; “Economic and Political Role of Women in Development”; “Civic Participation for Democratic Governance”; and “Civic Participation for Sustainable Development.” For more information, visit the conference website at

Report on NED’s International Forum

The Forum hosted a luncheon seminar on January 13 on “Islam, Secularization, and Democracy” by Abdou Filali-Ansary, director of the King Abdul-Aziz al-Saoud Foundation for Islamic Studies and Human Sciences in Casablanca and editorial director of Prologues: revue maghrebine du livre, a French-Arabic journal of philosophy, literature, and the social sciences. On January 27, G.M. Tamás, one of Hungary’s leading thinkers and political commentators, and currently the E.L. Wiegand Distinguished Visiting Professor of Democratization at Georgetown University, led a discussion on “Eastern Europe a Decade After 1989: Victory Defeated.” His presentation was followed by comments by Vladimir Tismaneanu, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland-College Park. On March 15, the Forum hosted a luncheon discussion by Steven Friedman, director of the Centre for Policy Studies (Johannesburg), entitled “South Africa’s Upcoming Elections: Is Democracy at a Crossroads?”

On February 1, the Forum welcomed a new visiting fellow, Jeffrey C. Gallup, who was most recently advisor to the vice chairman of the Cambodian National Election Committee (see the Field Report on pp. 152–64 of this issue). During his four-month fellowship, he will work on a book-length study of the 1998 Cambodian elections.

On February 15, at the first assembly of the World Movement for Democracy” in New Delhi (see report on pp. 184–85 above), the Forum and the Delhi-based Center for the Study of Developing Societies organized a workshop on “Policy Research Institutes and Democracy.” Participants representing more than 50 policy institutes from around the world expressed interest in maintaining a regular exchange of information. On the following day, Forum librarian Allen Overland helped lead a workshop on “New Communications Technologies as Tools for Democracy-Building.”

Finally, a half-day conference on “The 1999 Elections and the Future of Democracy in Nigeria,” cosponsored with the Africa Studies Program of the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, was held in Washington, D.C., on March 18. More information about the conference will appear in the next issue of the Journal.


Copyright © 1999 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press